German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has offered to restore an EU presence at the Rafah border crossing of the besieged Gaza Strip as the ongoing Israeli onslaught on the Palestinian enclave claims more lives.
German officials said on Friday that Steinmeier made the offer at a meeting with his counterparts, France’s Laurent Fabius and Britain’s Philip Hammond, during recent peace talks in Egypt.
“Together with our European partners we are ready to make a contribution, such as an EU mission to oversee border crossings,” the German foreign minister said adding, “At present we are holding intensive talks with all sides to create the conditions for such a solution.”
On Thursday, German officials said that if necessary, it would be possible to reactivate the EU presence within days, and that an international observer team with a UN mandate could be deployed in Gaza.
The Rafah border crossing is Gaza’s only exit route not controlled by Israel.
Gaza has been blockaded since June 2007, a situation that has caused a decline in the standard of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty.
About 1,900 people, including women and children, were killed and nearly 10,000 others injured by the Israeli regime’s latest offensive against Gaza that began on July 8.
Israeli warplanes pounded numerous sites in the Gaza Strip, demolishing houses and burying families under the rubble. Israeli forces also began a ground offensive against the impoverished Palestinian land on July 17.
Nearly 400,000 Palestinian children are in immediate need of psychological help due to “catastrophic and tragic impact” of war, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).