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Europe’s leaders express solidarity in Israel as EU searches for consensus

On a solidarity visit, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said it is his country's duty to protect the state and the people of Israel.

On a solidarity visit to Israel, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that in tough times, Germany has only one place to stand, and "that is on Israel’s side." Reiterating his call to regional players not to enter into the fray and in an evident reference to Hezbollah and Iran, Scholz warned, "That would be an unforgivable mistake. We have transferred these messages in all of the channels."

Scholz arrived in Israel on Tuesday just hours after Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu — the first world leader to visit after the deadly Oct. 7 attack by Hamas. US President Joe Biden is expected to arrive on Wednesday and French President Emmanuel Macron said he will travel to Israel "in the coming days."

Speaking at a joint press conference with his German counterpart, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "Hamas are the new Nazis. Hamas are ISIS, and in some cases even worse than ISIS." Scholz said that German responsibility for the Holocaust commits the country to protect Israel and its security, emphasizing that Israel has the right to defend itself and the obligation to protect its citizens.

Scholz also said that the humanitarian situation in Gaza "must be eased" and that he has discussed with Netanyahu ways to help suffering civilians in the Strip. The German chancellor also said that the humanitarian issue was the reason for his expected meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo after wrapping up his Israel visit. 

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