On the eve of the storming of Rafah: German Chancellor Scholz backs Israel’s genocide

Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s trip to Jordan and Israel over the weekend once again emphasised the central role played by German imperialism in the genocide of the Palestinians in Gaza. After extensive talks and a joint press conference with Scholz on Sunday, the far-right Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that Israel would realise its plans for an attack on Rafah.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz shake hands after their speeches in Jerusalem on Sunday, 17 March 2024. [AP Photo/Leo Correa]

“No international pressure will stop Israel,” Netanyahu declared during a meeting of the Israeli cabinet and threatened: “If we end the war now, before we have achieved all its goals, it will mean that Israel has lost the war, and we will not let that happen.”

The Israeli military will “operate in Rafah,” he reiterated. “It will take a few weeks, but it will happen.”

An attack on Rafah would bring the mass murder in the Gaza Strip to a new extreme. Around 1.5 million refugees are currently crammed into the southern city after the northern part of Gaza was almost completely bombed. The number of victims is already in the tens of thousands.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the Israeli army has already killed over 31,000 Palestinians in the first five months of the genocide—including more than 13,000 children. According to the United Nations, the “entire population” of the Gaza Strip—around 2.3 million people—is suffering from a high level of “acute” food insecurity as a result of the Israeli blockade. This includes 1.11 million suffering from “catastrophic” food insecurity.

The crocodile tears of Scholz and other leading German politicians about the suffering of the civilian population and the “extremely high number of victims” (Scholz) in Gaza cannot hide the fact that the German ruling class fully supports the genocide against the Palestinians. On the ground, the Chancellor repeatedly expressed his solidarity with Israel and the war aims of the far-right Netanyahu regime.

“Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas,” he declared in a press statement in Jerusalem. “The terrible attack on October 7 has caused terrible suffering. Hamas must not be able to resume such activities. That is why it must be able to be fought successfully.”

He made similar remarks at a joint press conference with Netanyahu: “In these dark hours,” Germany “stands by the side of the Israeli people,” he assured the prime minister. “From day one, our message was clear: Israel has the right to defend itself against the terror of Hamas and all hostages must be released and this cruel crime must come to an end.”

Netanyahu thanked Scholz for the “friendship and support that Germany has given Israel in these difficult times.” He also left no doubt that Scholz and the German government support the continuation of the genocide. In joint talks, they had agreed “that Hamas must be eliminated.” There could be “no future for the Gaza Strip, no future for peace, no future for Israel if Hamas, a terrorist organisation dedicated to our genocide, remains intact.”

In response to Scholz’s cynical remark that alongside the “military logic,” there was a “humanitarian logic” to the planned assault on Rafah, Netanyahu was no less cynical: he assured the Chancellor that the goal of “eliminating the remaining terrorist battalions in Rafah goes hand in hand” with “enabling the civilian population to leave Rafah.” When it came to “protecting the civilian population” and “providing humanitarian aid,” he agreed with Scholz’s “concern.” claiming the Israeli army did more “to minimise civilian casualties than any other army.”

In fact, the Israeli army is waging a war of annihilation against the Palestinians with the full support of the imperialist powers. Leading Israeli politicians and military leaders have never made a secret of the fact that this is a deliberate policy. Netanyahu himself declared on October 28: “You must remember what Amalek did to you.” He was referring to a passage in the Old Testament that demands: “Now go and smite Amalek ... spare them not, but slay man and woman, children and sucklings.”

As early as October 7, Nissim Vaturi, deputy speaker of the Knesset (parliament) and member of the Foreign Affairs and Security Committee, called for “the Gaza Strip to be wiped off the face of the earth.” And on October 9, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant announced that Israel had placed Gaza under “complete siege. No electricity, no food, no water, no fuel.” They were fighting “human animals” and acting accordingly, he said.

This week, the World Socialist Web Site stated in a perspective: “It is time to call things by their right name: The Netanyahu government is carrying out the ‘Final Solution of the Palestinian Problem.’ Regardless of the occasional and cynical finger-wagging in Washington, it is doing so with the support of the Biden administration and both political parties in the United States.”

The same applies to the German ruling class, which committed the greatest genocide in history in the last century with the murder of 6 million Jews and the war of extermination against the Soviet Union. Now it is seamlessly continuing its genocidal traditions. Since the start of the war, it has not only backed the Israeli actions politically and criminalised the widespread opposition to them but has also increased arms deliveries to Israel more than tenfold and sent its own warship to the Red Sea to support Israel’s war policy.

The real war aims go far beyond the destruction of Gaza. For Berlin and the other imperialist powers, Israel acts as an extension of their economic and geostrategic interests in the Middle East and worldwide. The unleashing of the Israeli war machine is part of the larger plan to attack Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen and Iran, and to expand the war offensive against Russia and China to redivide the world among the imperialist powers.

There is only one way to stop the genocide and the danger of a third world war: to build an international mass movement of the working class against fascism and war and their roots in capitalism. In its manifesto for the European elections, the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (Socialist Equality Party, SGP) emphasises:

Millions of people around the world have demonstrated against the genocide in Gaza in recent weeks, despite the propaganda from the politicians and the media, and have indicated how strong and globally networked the working class is today. This movement must be expanded and armed with a socialist perspective.

We demand:

- An immediate end to the siege of Gaza and the complete demobilization of the Israeli army!

- The holding of Netanyahu, Biden, Scholz and all other war criminals accountable for their war crimes!

- The fight to unite Palestinian and Israeli workers in the struggle for a common secular and socialist state!