German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that, “Standing up for Israel’s security is non-negotiable.” This was her attempt at not provoking Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, not least by turning a blind eye to the heinous crimes committed against the Palestinians since 1948, which continue even as I write.
As if Israelis are the victims, and the total support of the most pro-Israel US administration in history is not enough, Germany has chosen to stand in support of Israel’s brutal military occupation of Palestine. Considering the pivotal role that her country plays in the region, particularly in the political arena, Merkel’s statement is a slap in the face for justice, representing blatant bias towards the occupation and encouraging Israel to proceed with its offensive, and illegal, colonial plots.
It is necessary to remind Merkel that every crime that Israel has ever committed was committed under the pretext of “security” and “self-defence”. How easy it has been for Israel, armed with such a fake narrative, to kill Palestinians in cold blood and steal their land.
For an example, we need look no further than Israel’s response to the Great March of Return protests that started last year along the Israeli-built nominal border. It provides a stark reminder to the world of the catastrophe that the Palestinians have been living through since 1948. Peaceful protesters were met with deadly sniper fire; at least 324 Palestinians — medics and journalists among them — have been killed, and many thousands more wounded, under the pretext that they posed a threat to one of the world’s most advanced armies.
According B’Tselem human rights group, last year alone Israel demolished 256 Palestinian houses in the occupied West Bank and 265 in occupied East Jerusalem. Fourteen of these homes were destroyed as collective punishment, which is a war crime. That was done under the pretext of Israel’s “security” as well.
In the Gaza Strip, which is still occupied by Israel according to international laws and conventions, more than two million Palestinians live under its suffocating siege, imposed in 2007. Again, “security” is the fake pretext.
Nowadays, the whole region stands at a crossroads due to the imminent Israeli plan to annex more than a third of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley. All of the land in question is already under Israeli control for alleged “security” reasons and, again, annexation is a violation of international law. If it goes ahead, annexation will make thousands of Palestinians homeless, yet more refugees in their own land. More than 400 Israeli scholars oppose the annexation plan dues to its potential for dangerous consequences leading to a wave of violence and bloodshed. Can the Palestinians simply accept such a move by Israel without any resistance?
Furthermore, annexation is expected to increase Israel’s security burden to an unsustainable level. The Palestinian Authority, remember, has threatened to end its security coordination with the occupation state.
Countries are free to determine their own policies in expiation of their historical errors, of course, and Germany is no exception. This, though, should not be at the expense of the Palestinians and their basic human rights, which are also “non-negotiable”. Why should they pay the price for what Nazi Germany did? Such moves by the German leader provide immunity for Israel to do whatever it wants, safe in the knowledge that it will never be held to account for its crimes. Is that justice, Chancellor Merkel?