Federal Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer made the following statement on Friday (19 August) concerning the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip:

"The German Government welcomes developments to date concerning the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. The Israeli decision to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and from four settlements on the West Bank was a historic step and a sign of great courage. Despite attempts to interrupt the process and the cowardly murder of four Palestinians in Ramallah/Shiloh, the two sides have managed to ensure that the clearance of the settlements in the Gaza Strip has been for the most part trouble-free. This deserves great recognition.

The German Government calls upon both sides to continue this path of far-sightedness and reason. It provides the opportunity to find constructive solutions for the unresolved issues and to make further progress within the roadmap framework aiming for the peaceful co-existence of Israelis and Palestinians."