Germany on Monday rejected growing calls for a cease-fire in Gaza and reaffirmed its support for Israel's military campaign which claimed more than 11,000 lives, many of them children.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock expressed doubts about a cease-fire, arguing that it was not clear how this could be negotiated, how it could help in freeing the hostages, and how it could guarantee Israel's safety.
"I totally understand the impulse in this terrible situation, where innocent children, women, mothers, families are not only suffering so terribly, but they are dying. But impulses are not enough to help people to really guarantee security and peace," she told reporters ahead of an EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels.
"Those who demand things must also answer questions such as how can the demand for a cease-fire in this acute and terrible situation guarantee Israel's security? What happens to the 200 hostages? How and who negotiates this in such a situation where negotiations seem hardly possible?" Baerbock asked.
The German foreign minister said her government and its European partners are supporting temporary and geographically limited "humanitarian pauses" in Gaza to allow aid to be delivered to the civilians.
Since the conflict between Israel and Hamas escalated last month, the German government repeatedly said that Israel has a right to self-defense, and Berlin will remain in solidarity with the Israelis.
Germany says it bears historical responsibility for the security of Israel due to the country's Nazi past and crimes committed against Jews during World War II.
But critics accuse the government of "double standards," saying Germany championed human rights causes and stood with Ukraine against Russia, but it is now turning a blind eye to the Israeli military's "war crimes" in Gaza.