(Communicated by the Office of the President)
President Shimon Peres, this morning (Tuesday, 20 November 2012), held a working meeting with German Foreign Minister Dr. Guido Westerwelle, who has arrived in Israel for a series of meetings with the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority in light of the current security situation.
President Peres thanked the Germany Foreign Minister for coming to Israel and said, "We appreciate the support of Germany and of Chancellor Merkel who is one of the European Union’s most significant leaders. Over the past seven days Hamas and the other terror organizations in Gaza have fired over 1500 rockets at Israel. These rockets have been fired at schools and at homes. Israel is committed to stopping the ongoing rocket fire at the civilians in the south. We greatly appreciate your efforts to bring an end to the attacks on Israeli civilians and to bring hope to the region."
The German Foreign Minister conveyed his government’s support for Israel’s position and told President Peres that the German government is standing by Israel and that Israel has the right to defend itself and its citizens. Dr. Westerwelle added that Hamas is responsible for stopping the rocket fire against Israel. He further added that the support for Israel was not just from Germany but the Europe Union as a whole as expressed by the statement from Brussels yesterday.
The Foreign Minister said that within the international community there is a mistaken impression that the rocket fire against Israel came as a response to the escalation of the last few days but that Germany knows, and explains to others, that the rocket attacks have been occurring for years. With respect to Egypt, Dr. Westerwelle said that he hoped Egypt would use its central position to mediate a ceasefire and that he was optimistic that Egypt understood the weight of responsibility upon it.