Germany’s foreign minister Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, during a short trip to Gaza, said that economic development and rehabilitation are necessary, but can be achieved only if Hamas stops attacking Israel.

Hamas rocket

A Gaza terrorist fires a projectile during training. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90)

In an effort to revive diplomatic negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, German Foreign Minister Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier paid a visit to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Monday after meeting with Israeli leaders in Jerusalem.

Steinmeier called upon Israel to ease the Israeli blockade on the Strip, which was imposed in order to stop the import of weapons by Hamas after their violent takeover of Gaza in 2007. He urged Hamas to cease firing rockets at Israeli targets.

Steinmeier was the most recent Western diplomat among several to tour Gaza since the 50-day Operation Protective Edge last summer. While international donors have pledged billions of dollars in aid, little reconstruction has taken place on homes destroyed in the fighting.

With a total contribution of $93 million to UNRWA programs in Gaza to date, Germany is its second-largest supporter.

Steinmeier said that more efforts were needed to rebuild and to improve the economy in Gaza, saying, “this requires the opening of crossing points by Israel,” although he acknowledged that it would be “difficult” to do so as long as Hamas rocket fire continues.

Just last Tuesday, terrorists from Gaza fired a rocket at an Israeli city.

Steinmeier and his delegation of some 60 officials refrained from meeting with Hamas officials.

By: AP and United with Israel Staff

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