German President’s visit to Qatar came after stopping in Israel on Monday, where he met Israeli President Isaac Herzog.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier experienced an unusual situation as he was left waiting on the tarmac in Qatar for nearly 30 minutes after touching down on Wednesday, awaiting a welcome by Qatar’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Sultan al-Muraichai. Sources have told Doha News that the reason for the President’s wait might have been due to his plane arriving 30 minutes earlier than scheduled.
Originally scheduled for a three-hour visit to Doha, according to Deutsche Welles, Steinmeier’s stop comes from a three-day trip to the region in Israel that kicked off on Monday, where he met Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The German leader voiced his support for Israel during his meetings in Tel Aviv while also accusing Hamas of starting “a war in the entire region,” according to a statement Steinmeier made to the media in Tel Aviv before a meeting with the Israeli foreign ministry.
Ahead of the truce between Israel and Hamas being extended for a seventh day, Steinmeier was in Qatar to discuss efforts to release the remaining German hostages being held by Hamas.
“I am sure Qatar will do everything in its power to contribute to the release of the German hostages,” Steinmeier told reporters in Doha following talks with Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
“We have to understand that in such a difficult negotiation situation, there can be no guarantees,” Steinmeier added.
In a post on X, Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim publicly commented about the talks between the German leader, writing: “We touched on the latest developments in the situation in Gaza, where we stressed together the necessity of resuming the path of comprehensive peace in the Middle East in a way that guarantees the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in accordance with the resolutions of international legitimacy.”
Germany does not recognize Palestine as a state.
After October 7, Germany introduced a wave of bans against any so-called “Hamas activity” as Pro-Palestinian demonstrations were banned in Berlin because local authorities feared an eruption of violence or anti-Semitism.
In a statement on November 2nd, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said, “With Hamas, I have today completely banned the activities of a terrorist organisation whose aim is to destroy the state of Israel.”
As well as banning the Palestinian flag, critics said the actions by the authorities violate constitutional rights, freedom of association, and the right to demonstrate.
According to the Berlin-based newspaper Tageszeitunrg, more than 100 German-Jewish scholars criticized the ongoing de facto ban on pro-Palestine demonstrations, arguing they “suppress legitimate and non-violent political expression, which may include criticism of Israel.”
“Attempts to resist these arbitrary restrictions are met with indiscriminate brutality. Authorities have targeted people with migrant backgrounds across Germany, harassing, arresting, and beating civilians, often under the flimsiest of pretexts,” the letter said.