You betrayed your “responsibility arising from the Holocaust” by unreservedly supporting an Israel that occupies, colonises, deprives people of water, steals land, imprisons two million people in Gaza in an overcrowded cage, destroys homes, drives entire communities from their homes and promotes settler violence.
Amira Hass is an Israeli journalist and author, mostly known for her columns in the daily newspaper Haaretz covering Palestinian affairs in Gaza and the West Bank, where she has lived for almost thirty years.
Cross-posted from Telepolis
Translated by BRAVE NEW EUROPE
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said last Thursday that “the suffering and hardship of the civilian population in the Gaza Strip will only increase. Hamas is also responsible for this.”
But is there a limit to this increasing suffering, given that you and your colleagues in the West have given unqualified support to Israel? Will you accept 2,000 Palestinian children being killed?
Are 80,000 elderly people who might have died of dehydration if the water supply from Israel had not been restored a legitimate increase in suffering in your eyes?
You also said: “Our own history, our responsibility arising from the Holocaust, makes it our perpetual duty to stand up for the existence and for the security of the State of Israel. This responsibility guides us.” But, Mr Scholz, there is a contradiction between this sentence and the one quoted above.
“Suffering and hardship will increase” is a blank cheque for a wounded, injured Israel, which is allowed to destroy, destroy and kill without restraint, and risks involving us and risks involving all of us in a regional war, if not a third world war, which would also endanger Israel’s survival, its security and existence.
Whereas “responsibility arising from the Holocaust” means doing everything possible to prevent a war that leads in an endless cycle to disasters that lead to wars that increase suffering.
I learned this from my father, a survivor of the German cattle cars.
As early as 1992, every time I returned from Gaza with reports of Israel’s oppression of its inhabitants, he told me: “It’s true, this is not genocide as we experienced it, but for us it ended after five or six years. For the Palestinians, the suffering has continued for decades.” It is an ongoing Nakba.
You Germans have long since betrayed your “responsibility arising from the Holocaust” – that is, from the murder of my parents’ families, among others, and the suffering of the survivors.
You betrayed it by unreservedly supporting an Israel that occupies, colonises, deprives people of water, steals land, imprisons two million people in Gaza in an overcrowded cage, destroys homes, drives entire communities from their homes and promotes settler violence.
And all this has happened under the guise of a so-called peace agreement that you and other Western leaders have agreed to. You have allowed Israel to act in contradiction to this agreement as interpreted by Europe – as a way to establish a Palestinian state in the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, which many Palestinians supported precisely because they wanted to prevent further suffering and bloodshed.
There are enough diplomats and aid workers who have reported how hundreds of thousands of young Palestinians have lost all hope and meaning in their lives under Israel’s arrogant oppression and indiscriminate killing of civilians.
Palestinian human rights activists have warned time and again that Israel’s policies can only lead to an outbreak of violence on an unimaginable scale. Israeli and Jewish peace activists have also warned you.
But you stayed true to your path and sent Israel the message that everything was fine – that no one was going to punish it or teach the Israelis through forceful diplomatic and political steps that there can be no normality with the occupation.
And then you accused Israel’s critics of anti-Semitism.
But no, this column is not a justification for the orgy of murder and sadism perpetrated by Hamas gunmen. Nor is it a justification for the gleeful reactions of some Palestinians and the refusal of others to confront the atrocities committed in their name.
Rather, it is a call to you to stop the current campaign of death and destruction before it brings another catastrophe on millions of Israelis, Palestinians, Lebanese and perhaps even residents of other countries in the region.