The G7 foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union on Tuesday issued a statement expressing support for an extension of the pause in fighting in Gaza.
The statement said the ministers “welcome the release of some of the hostages seized on October 7 by Hamas and other terrorist organizations, and the recent pause in hostilities that has allowed a surge in humanitarian assistance to reach Palestinian civilians in Gaza.”
“We, as the G7, urge the release of all hostages immediately and unconditionally. We call for the facilitated departure of all foreign nationals. We emphasize Israel’s right to defend itself and its people, in accordance with international law, as it seeks to prevent a recurrence of the October 7 attacks,” they added.
“We appreciate the leadership of the United States and countries in the region, especially Qatar and Egypt, and their tireless efforts to secure this and future pauses. We support the significant efforts of the United Nations to coordinate the delivery of humanitarian assistance during this pause,” added the statement.
Noting the pause in the fighting “is a crucial step towards bringing all remaining hostages home and addressing the full scope of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza”, the statement called on “all parties to build on the provisions of the deal and to ensure greater humanitarian aid continues to reach civilians in Gaza on a sustained basis.”
“We support the further extension of this pause and future pauses as needed to enable assistance to be scaled up, and to facilitate the release of all hostages,” said the statement.
Noting the importance of maritime security, the statement calls “on all parties not to threaten or interfere with lawful exercise of navigational rights and freedoms by all vessels. We especially call on the Houthis to immediately cease attacks on civilians and threats to international shipping lanes and commercial vessels and release the M/V Galaxy Leader and its crew, illegally seized from international waters on November 19.”
“We remain committed to a Palestinian state as part of a two-state solution that enables both Israelis and Palestinians to live in a just, lasting, and secure peace,” the ministers concluded.
The statement comes amid calls to extend the pause and release of hostages. The agreement signed a week ago included a four-day pause and another six days subject to the release of ten hostages each day. The four-day pause has already been extended by two days but it is unclear right now whether another extension will be agreed to.
An Israeli diplomatic official said on Tuesday that there are currently no serious talks about extending the ceasefire beyond the 10 days defined by the cabinet and approved by the government.
"If there is a concrete proposal, it will be brought up for discussion in the cabinet and the government, but at the moment there is no such thing. If there is a significant proposal - we will consider it. We will not allow a terrorist organization to mess around with us," said the source.
The head of the Mossad, David Barnea, was in Qatar on Tuesday and discussed the possibility of expanding the agreement in such a way that youngsters over the age of 19, elderly fathers and bodies of deceased hostages will also be released from captivity.