German officials hail bipartisan bill calling for Gaza blockade end
Germany's government called Friday for an immediate end to the blockade of the Gaza Strip after an unusual unanimous vote criticising Israeli policy in Germany's Bundestag parliament, dpa reported.
"We have repeatedly made it clear that Israel has to enable access to the Gaza Strip on humanitarian grounds and for the sake of reconstruction," said Ulrich Wilhelm, the German government's spokesman.
He said the vote on Thursday evening reaffirmed the policies of Chancellor Angela Merkel's government.
Many Israelis have reacted with annoyance to the Berlin parliamentary vote, with the Simon Wiesenthal Centre describing it as hypocritical.
The two main government blocs of Christian Democrats and Free Democrats moved the resolution together with the opposition Social Democrats and Greens. The only other party in the house, the Left Party, then voted in favour, so there were no votes against.
The resolution called on Israel to lift the blockade because it is counterproductive and does not serve Israel's own security interests.
The parliament said Israel should instead inspect all imports to the Gaza Strip to prevent weapons smuggling and stop future missile attacks on Israeli territory.
Left Party caucus leader Gregor Gysi stressed Friday how rare it is for his party to vote in line with the government.