The Israeli government continues to perpetrate its genocide against the Palestinians with the full support of the German and British governments. This was confirmed by a guest commentary jointly published in the Sunday Times by German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and her British counterpart David Cameron.
The article is headlined “Why the UK and Germany back a sustainable ceasefire” and is presented by the international media as an endeavour to achieve a ceasefire. In fact, it provides the Israeli government carte blanche to continue its genocidal rampage without restraint.
Baerbock and Cameron are aware that the brutal actions of the Israeli army can no longer be glossed over. The whole world is watching in horror as Gaza is turned into a hell, with the number of dead, injured, sick and starving people growing day by day and entire neighbourhoods, hospitals and schools reduced to rubble.
This is why the two foreign ministers began by shedding a few crocodile tears: “As parents, it breaks our hearts to see so many children killed or wounded. Each death of an innocent on and since October 7 is a tragedy. Families are in mourning. Communities are in shock. The region is in crisis. Neither of us wants to see this conflict last a moment longer than necessary.”
But then they explicitly speak out against ending the genocide: “But our goal cannot simply be an end to fighting today. It must be peace lasting for days, years, generations. We therefore support a ceasefire, but only if it is sustainable.” To leave no room for doubt, they emphasise again: “But let us be clear. We do not believe that calling right now for a general and immediate ceasefire, hoping it somehow becomes permanent, is the way forward.”
By a “permanent ceasefire” Baerbock and Cameron mean a peace on the bones of the Palestinians, a truce in the cemetery. They are explicitly committed to the destruction of Hamas, Netanyahu’s war aim, which he understands to mean the elimination and expulsion of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
“Let us imagine that we did press Israel to cease all military operations forthwith. Would Hamas stop firing rockets? Would it release the hostages? Would its murderous ideology change?” they write. “Even before October 7, it was hard to imagine Hamas as a real partner for peace. After October 7, we can have no illusions. Leaving Hamas in power in Gaza would be a permanent roadblock on the path to a two-state solution.”
The article ends with the hypocritical reminder that Israel has the right to defend itself, but must “abide by international humanitarian law,” the promise to provide a little more aid to the Palestinians while they are being slaughtered, and an appeal to “our Arab partners” to cooperate. This means that Baerbock and Cameron want to work closely with Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Saudi ruler Mohammed bin Salman and other authoritarian rulers in the region to wring the Palestinians’ necks.
If they were really interested in a ceasefire or peace, they and the US, with whom they cooperate closely, could stop the Israeli government immediately. All they would have to do is turn off the money tap and stop supplying arms.
But Netanyahu knows that he has nothing to fear. Washington, Berlin and London are fully behind him. He responded to the admonitions to show more consideration for the civilian population by defiantly declaring: “We are more determined than ever to continue to the end until we have destroyed Hamas.” The war would continue until “total victory.”
The US, Germany and Britain have been arming Israel militarily for decades and using it as a bridgehead for their imperialist interests in the Middle East. Now they have let their attack dog off the leash and are trying to distance themselves from its worst atrocities without slowing it down in the slightest.
Defeating the Palestinian resistance is an important step for them to re-establish their dominance in the Middle East, which has suffered badly after the disastrous wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. They are urging that the Gaza war not be dragged out too long, lest it tie up too many military forces needed for an expansion of the war against Lebanon, Yemen and Iran. According to a report in the Guardian, the US government is pushing for the largest military operations to be completed by the end of December.
Despite the humanitarian catastrophe, Israel is therefore taking increasingly brutal and ruthless action against the Palestinians. In the Jabalia refugee camp, for example, which is located in the north of the Gaza Strip and has already been the target of several terrible air strikes, 110 civilians were killed yesterday alone. In the south, where most of the refugees live, the situation has become unbearable. There is no safe place to stay, many do not get food for days and there is a threat of serious epidemics.
Washington is already in the process of organising the next war front. Negotiations are in full swing with the Netherlands, Germany and other countries on a naval operation in the Red Sea after Houthi militias, who control part of Yemen and are allied with Iran, damaged merchant ships in solidarity with the Palestinians.
The Red Sea, the shortest route between Europe and Asia, is one of the world’s most important trade routes. Twelve percent of global trade volume and 30 percent of container traffic passes through it. Several large shipping companies have now cancelled their services and are using the much longer route around Africa.
Berlin is currently examining German participation in the mission. Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, chairwoman of the parliamentary Defence Committee, has already spoken out in favour of this. “We must stand up to terrorists of all colours,” she said, explaining her decision.
The situation is also coming to a head in Lebanon, where Israel is repeatedly launching air strikes against Hezbollah, one of the country’s largest parties allied with Iran, and threatening to attack the entire country. Foreign Minister Baerbock spoke by telephone last week with Benny Gantz, a member of the Israeli war cabinet, about cooperation against Hezbollah. She gave Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib, who visited her in Berlin on Friday, corresponding warnings.
Far from being in favour of a “lasting ceasefire,” Baerbock and Cameron are working to escalate the war in the Middle East. For them, after Ukraine, the Middle East is another front in a looming third world war directed against Russia and, above all, China.
It is indicative of the right-wing development of the Greens that the Green German foreign minister is in seamless agreement on these issues with the right-wing conservative Tory David Cameron, who was British Prime Minister from 2010 to 2016.