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German minister calls Israeli operation in Rafah illegal

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German Economy Minister Robert Habeck on Saturday criticized Israel’s actions in Gaza, describing its military operation in Rafah as contrary to international law.

“The famine, the suffering of the Palestinian population and the attacks in the Gaza Strip are – as we are now seeing in court – incompatible with international law,” Habeck said in Berlin, referring to a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) calling on Israel to end its offensive in Rafah.

Habeck said that the German government believes “that Israel must not carry out this attack, at least not in the way it did in the Gaza Strip before, bombing refugee camps and so on.”

Speaking at a festival to mark the 75th anniversary of Germany’s Basic Law, Habeck pointed out that the Palestinian militant group Hamas could end the war immediately if it laid down its weapons.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Saturday also reiterated warnings against a large-scale Israeli military offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

“Our statement is that warfare must always be conducted in such a way that it respects the rules of international law,” said Scholz at a public discussion in Potsdam, near Berlin.

“That is why we have always been very clear in saying that we cannot imagine an offensive in Rafah without terrible, irresponsible human losses,” he added.

Robert Habeck (C), Germany's Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection, speaks at the Democracy Festival in Berlin's government district. Christophe Gateau/dpa

Robert Habeck (C), Germany’s Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection, speaks at the Democracy Festival in Berlin’s government district. Christophe Gateau/dpa

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