German and Dutch leaders on Monday called on Israel to abide by international law and improve the humanitarian conditions in Gaza.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz blamed Hamas for the conflict and said Israel has a right to defend itself, but also underlined that the suffering of the Palestinian civilians was immense.
“Clearly Israel is acting, and must do so, within the framework of international humanitarian law,” Scholz said, during a joint news conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in Berlin.
“We are also saddened by the suffering of the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza. The humanitarian supplies must be improved,” he stressed.
Scholz also underlined the importance of diplomatic efforts and said only a two-state solution can bring peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians.
Dutch Prime Minister Rutte said they were gravely concerned about the humanitarian situation in Gaza, and the large number of civilian deaths and injuries.
“The Netherlands supports Israel’s right to self-defense, but of course by acting proportionately, and abiding by the international humanitarian law,” he said.
He urged Israel to exercise restraint in its military operations, and called for more “humanitarian pauses” to facilitate the delivery of urgently needed assistance.
“It is very important that water, food, fuel and medical aid can be delivered to the people of Gaza,” he said.
Israel resumed its military offensive against the Gaza Strip on Dec. 1 after the end of a weeklong humanitarian pause with the Palestinian group, Hamas.
Nearly 18,000 Palestinians have been killed and more than 49,000 others injured in relentless air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7 following a cross-border attack by Hamas.
The Israeli death toll from the Hamas attack stands at 1,200, according to official figures.