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Germany mull8k8. coms likely involvement in protection force in Gaza

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This photo taken on March 26 shows Germany's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock giving a press statement on the terrace of the German Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel when she was visiting Israel for the sixth time since Oct 7 to discuss the situation in Gaza. [Photo/CFP]

Germany's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is mulling the country's potential involvement in an international protection force for Gaza, as proposed by the Arab League.

The Arab bloc first proposed a United Nations protection force for the Gaza Strip in mid-May. Although Baerbock, of the Green Party, initially hesitated to endorse the concept without a ceasefire, she has now highlighted the potential for German involvement.

Speaking at a Green Party conference on Saturday, she said: "If an international protection force is now needed to ensure that we finally achieve peace, that is also our mission."

Baerbock emphasized that achieving peace in Gaza goes beyond reconstruction efforts and stressed that the pursuit of peace in the region should mirror efforts being made with the Russia-Ukraine conflict, reported the Euractiv news website.

The "Manama Declaration" issued by the 22-member Arab League after the conclusion of the 33rd Arab League Summit held in Manama, the capital of Bahrain on May 16 advocates for "international protection and peacekeeping forces of the United Nations in the occupied Palestinian territories" until a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict is realized.

The United States is urging Israel to agree to a permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. On Friday, US President Joe Biden revealed a three-phase peace initiative for Gaza, beginning with an immediate six-week ceasefire prompting the withdrawal of Israeli forces from populated regions.

Following this, there would be a swap of vulnerable hostage groups held by Hamas in return for imprisoned Palestinians.

The final step would involve reconstructing the Gaza Strip, which is the stage when a UN peacekeeping mission possibly supported by Germany would be formed.

As reported by Politico, Israel's war Cabinet made an offer for a ceasefire to Hamas on Wednesday, against the wishes of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Hamas initially rejected the offer on Thursday but seemed to reconsider after Biden's encouragement on Friday, stating they viewed the proposal "positively".

In a call with Netanyahu on Sunday, Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz conveyed his support for the US-led peace proposal.

"The German government joins Washington's appeal … with the Israeli offer, there is now a tangible prospect of an end to the fighting and an end to the war," a government news release stated on Sunday.

Israel also confirmed it had accepted the outline of the proposal, reported Euractiv.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby said on Sunday that if Hamas accepts the deal to end the Gaza war, the US expects Israel to accept the peace agreement too.

"This was an Israeli proposal. We have every expectation that if Hamas agrees to the proposal … then Israel would say yes," Kirby told ABC News.

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