German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, travelled to Israel on Tuesday to support Benjamin Netanyahu's regime in its genocidal war against the Palestinians.
Immediately after the meeting between Scholz and Netanyahu, the Israeli air force attacked the Christian Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza City, killing more than 500 people who had sought refuge. Many refugees were also killed in a United Nations school.
Despite this massacre Scholz tweeted in Hebrew: “I say again explicitly here in Tel Aviv: no other party should consider intervening in this conflict. That would be an unforgivable mistake.” Cynically, he asserted, “Our concern is explicitly for civilians - we want to protect them. I've spoken to @netanyahu about the need to get humanitarian aid to those affected quickly.”
Even as the attack on the hospital filled headlines, Scholz found no word of regret for the Palestinians killed and defended Israel’s action. He wrote: “Brutal terror. The execution of defenceless civilians. Murdered babies, abducted children. Humiliated Holocaust survivors. It makes our blood run cold. Israel has the right to defend itself against this. A state has a duty to protect its citizens.”
Even prior to the bombing of the hospital, 3,000 Palestinians had died as a result of Israeli attacks, including more than 1,000 children. Relief workers suspect another 1,200 victims lie under the rubble.
Since the Hamas uprising against Israel, which killed about 1,400 Israelis, Israeli forces have pursued the strategy of making the Gaza Strip uninhabitable by killing or expelling its more than two million inhabitants. The Israeli army and air force are dropping thousands of tons of bombs on one of the most densely populated areas in the world, reducing entire neighborhoods of multi-storey residential buildings to rubble, cutting off water, food and electricity supplies and sending 1.1 million Palestinians on a death march to the south of the Gaza Strip, where they have no shelter, food or medical care and continue to be bombed.
This is even before the start of the ground offensive, for which Israel has massed over 300,000 soldiers. Experts agree that such an offensive will be brutal and claim additional tens of thousands of victims.
Scholz gave his unqualified support to these heinous war crimes. “There is only one place for Germany, and that is at Israel's side,” he told a press conference in the presence of Netanyahu. “Israel has the right, guaranteed under international law, to defend itself,” Scholz continued – as if the slaughter, starvation and expulsion of thousands of civilians had anything to do with self-defence!
The press conference of Scholz and Netanyahu was marked by an unbearable cynicism, unmatched even by the propaganda surrounding earlier criminal wars.
Netanyahu, a criminal whose government includes convicted racists and fascists, described the massacre of Palestinians as a “struggle of civilisation against barbarism.” He called the Hamas attack “the worst crime against Jews since the Holocaust” and compared it to the Babyn Yar massacre, in which the Nazis shot 33,000 Jewish men, women and children over two days in 1941. “Hamas are the new Nazis,” he claimed.
What a shameless distortion of history! The Babyn Yar massacre was part of a meticulously planned war of extermination by a highly armed imperialist power that killed 6 million Jews and 25 million Soviet citizens. The Hamas attack was a reaction to 75 years of expulsion, oppression and humiliation of the Palestinians, which under the Netanyahu regime has taken on intolerable forms. Gaza is an open-air prison where hundreds of thousands of young people have grown up, lacking any prospect of a future and subject to the unceasing terror of the Israeli state.
Historically, uninvolved civilians have fallen victim to colonial uprisings and imperialist propaganda has exploited this to justify atrocities a hundred times worse. The innocent victims are to be pitied, but that does not change the fact that the oppressed were historically in the right against their oppressors who bear responsibility for the violence. So it is in Gaza.
With his support for the massacre in Gaza, Scholz has made himself an accomplice to the worst of war crimes. His repeated assertions that Germany’s concerns also extend to civilians in the Gaza Strip are a transparent fraud. It is reminiscent of a murderer who asserts that he does not want to inflict pain on the victim he kills.
The columnist Amira Hass, whose parents survived the Holocaust and who has long campaigned for Palestinian rights, addresses this issue in a commentary in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. She accuses Scholz of writing “a blank cheque for a wounded, hurting Israel to pulverize and destroy and kill without restraint”, risking “embroiling us all in a regional war, if not a third world war, which would also endanger Israel's security and existence.”
The Germans, Hass writes, have long since betrayed their responsibility “arising from the Holocaust”: “You betrayed it by your unreserved support for an Israel that occupies, colonizes, deprives people of water, steals land, imprisons two million Gazans in a crowded cage, demolishes homes, expels entire communities from their homes and encourages settler violence.”
Scholz supports the massacre of Palestinians not out of concern for the safety of Jews, but in the interests of German imperialism. He is supported in this by all of Germany’s political parties and MPs represented in the Bundestag. It is no accident that the far-right AfD, which has described the Nazi dictatorship as “a piece of birdshit” and the Holocaust memorial as a “disgrace”, cheers most loudly in the Bundestag about the genocide of the Palestinians.
Since 1991, the US and Germany have systematically sought to subjugate countries in the Middle East by force. Israel has always served as their main regional ally and military bridgehead. In the process the US and Germany have largely destroyed Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, but have failed in their goal of bringing the region completely under their control. They had to withdraw their forces from Afghanistan after twenty years and in Syria, Russia and Iran thwarted their attempt to topple the Assad regime.
Now they are making a new attempt to bring the Middle East under their control. That is why Scholz is threatening retaliation against anyone who stands in the way of the massacre of the Palestinians. The US has already sent two aircraft carriers to the region. Their role is not to fight Hamas, but rather to target Iran, Lebanese Hezbollah and any regional organisation or government that stand in the way of their imperialist plans.
Berlin is working closely with Washington. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock already hinted on Sunday on the Anne Will talkshow that Germany could also send troops to the war zone. “Israel will get any help it needs from Germany, including military support,” she said.
Baerbock and her American counterpart Antony Blinken have visited numerous Arab states in recent days aiming to bring their governments into line, with US President Joe Biden in Israel today.
The danger of plunging the Middle East and the whole world into an inferno is great. Only an international anti-war movement of the working class and youth can prevent this. The defence of the Palestinians, the struggle against war and militarism and the mobilisation of the international working class against exploitation and capitalism are inseparable bound with one another.