World Bulletin / News Desk
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended Israel's invasion of Gaza as the death toll among Palestinians continues to rise.
Her comments on Friday, at her annual press conference of the Federal Press Conference in Berlin, came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was considering "significantly widening" the ground invasion.
Merkel told journalists: “Israel has a right to self-defense. This should be carried out in an appropriate way.”
The chancellor expressed concern over Hamas' new capabilities in weapons technology, which meant rockets can reach Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
'On Israel's side'
Merkel said: “Each country should defend itself when it is attacked in such a way.
"When it comes to self-defense, we are on the side of Israel, because each country has that right.”
Asked by an Anadolu Agency correspondent whether Germany would launch a diplomatic initiative to prevent more civilian casualties in Gaza, Merkel said German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier had held talks in Israel and the Palestinian territories on Tuesday in support of efforts for a ceasefire and a diplomatic solution.
The chancellor added: “Unfortunately, this has not been achieved so far."
“We hope that the Egyptian initiative will receive unanimous approval in the Arab world.”
Egypt's initiative, put forward on Monday, called on Israel to cease all hostilities in the Gaza Strip, halt all ground operations and refrain from targeting civilians.
It also called on Palestinian resistance factions to cease hostilities against Israel, halt rocket fire and cross-border attacks and stop targeting civilians.
German Chancellor underlined that a long-term solution to the conflict can only be achieved on the basis of a two-state solution.
“Both sides have to make painful concessions for that,” Merkel stressed.
The Israeli prime minister said earlier on Friday that he had instructed the Israeli army to "prepare for the possibility of significantly widening the ground operation".
Israel launched a major military offensive on the Gaza Strip on 7 July and stepped up its offensive on Thursday night to include ground operations inside the embattled coastal enclave.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said over 300 Palestinians had been killed and around 2,000 wounded.Güncelleme Tarihi: 19 Temmuz 2014, 09:52