Merkel stands by Israel even when it kills Germans

The funeral of the al-Kilani family in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza, earlier this week. 

Ashraf Amra APA images

Earlier this year Angela Merkel was awarded Israel’s “presidential medal of distinction.” The German chancellor merited this honor, some journalists dutifully reported, because of her “unwavering commitment to Israel’s security.”

That “unwavering commitment” might help explain why Merkel does not appear perturbed by what happened to Ibrahim al-Kilani. He was a citizen of Germany, where he had lived for twenty years. He had qualified there as a civil engineer, before returning to Gaza in 2001, where he had married and started raising a family. On Monday, Ibrahim, his wife Taghreed and their five children were wiped out in an Israeli attack.

Ilias, the youngest of the children, was only four. His sister Yasmin was six. The other siblings — Yassir, Sawsan, and Rim — were aged between eight and twelve. It should not be necessary to spell out that they were entirely innocent of any crime.

One day after this family was wiped out, Germany and all European Union governments issued a statement on the events in Gaza. As the Union’s foreign ministers were meeting that day, they had every opportunity to demand an explanation from Israel as to why it had just killed a family of EU citizens.

Yet the EU’s statement did not even mention the al-Kilanis. Rather, the foreign ministers stressed that they recognized “Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself against any attacks.”

Israel was politely asked to make sure its military action was “proportionate and in line with international humanitarian law.”

Cowardice

It is hard to remain calm when reading those carefully chosen words — of abject cowardice. Not for the first time, the EU was blaming Palestinians for the atrocities visited upon them by a brutal occupation. The truth was turned upside down.

Many of us have long suspected that the European Union doesn’t really care when Palestinians are killed by Israel. Now we can say for certain it doesn’t care even when Israel bombs EU citizens.

Ahmad al-Kilani, Ibrahim’s cousin, made this point in an interview with a Turkish news agency: “No German or American nationality stops Israel from murdering us. Israel is like a monster that destroys everything it encounters. This is genocide.”

Eventually, the German foreign ministry announced yesterday that it was seeking “clarification” from Israel about why it killed the al-Kilani family.

That is a hollow gesture, when you recall that Merkel explicitly stated last week that “we stand by the side of Israel, when it comes to self-defense.” She has not withdrawn that remark, despite the abundant evidence that the al-Kilani family and the people of Gaza more generally have not been bombed for reasons of “self-defense” but in grotesque acts of aggression.

The al-Kilani family had already suffered enormously from Israel’s latest attack on Gaza. They had fled their home in Beit Lahia, an area in northern Gaza that Israel has shelled continuously.

Stand by Palestine

They had sought shelter in Shujaiya, a neighborhood in Gaza City. On Sunday, they witnessed a horrific massacre in that neighborhood.

They tried to escape once more, finding an apartment in Rimal, supposedly a safer part of Gaza City. It has been reported that Taghreed al-Kilani was preparing an iftar, the meal that ends a day of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, when Israel shelled them.

More than 700 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza in the current Israeli offensive.

Insipid requests from the European Union for Israel to behave in a “proportionate” manner won’t stop the slaughter. It, therefore, falls to ordinary people of conscience around the world to take action.

We know what we have to do: intensify our campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. If Angela Merkel and other Western leaders are so determined to side with Israel, the rest of us must stand by the Palestinians.

Thanks to Shahd Abusalama for help with research and translation.

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Comments

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The supporters of Israel use the cliche of 'proportionality' as a signal to Israel to go ahead and do whatever it wants to do in Gaza. But such words are not meant to be taken seriously by the Zionist leaders of Israel because they are only a PR exercise for controlling the public revulsion over the war crimes and the ongoing slaughter of the Palestinians in Gaza.

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is a traitor to the German Nation and we stupid Germans are waking up much to slow
its a shame

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Considering Germany's past history with the Jews, I'm not surprised that she said what she did. Is she, as a German representative, going to tell Israel to stop their genocide? They're just going to laugh at her. If no other EU country is first willing to step up to criticize Israel, Merkel's hands are tied. So cut her some slack.

But having said that, I do think Israel's gone too far. I hope western governments find the balls to fend off their Zionist backers and do the right thing.

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So, all the relentless German introspection as a nation about how they could have let the holocaust happen is futile if they can't understand that all human lives are equally precious. Guilt over holocaust doesn't mean bending backwards for Israel, it means preventing cruelty and injustice anywhere, being perpetrated by anybody. Merkel and the Germans, as much as anybody else, have every right to stop the genocide of Palestinians.

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When we look at to EU politics it's only hipocricy we see! If any muslim country does even a small amount of what israil did,now whole world would attack. Think about your country occupied,you lost your land to settlers, they evacuate you,they kill you on a whim; they control your water,electricity,fuel,medicine...when you try to defend your country whole world side with invaders and tell you what you are suffering is your fault!
What would you do?

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You only need to look at Syria and the atrocities committed there by Arabs against Arabs (I am not talking Muslims as there are many Christians also living in Syria, as well as Gaza), to realise the world does not intervene when necessary.

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There was a time- 1980s and 90s- when even the most vicious right wing regimes in places like El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico, refrained from torturing and disappearing German citizens. These brutal states understood that such depredations would have diplomatic and trade repercussions, and so abstained from acts of extreme violence against overseas Germans. This was not the case regarding the fate of American citizens who fell into the hands of these US-sponsored police states. There was an unwritten understanding that Americans who were disposed of were "trouble-makers" and got what they deserved. The US government never pursued such atrocities beyond the expression of formal condolences, if that, to families of the victims.

Now we see evidence that the German government has adopted an attitude of indifference to the fate of its nationals at the hands of a despotic regime, Israel. And that bodes ill for other Germans, and Europeans in general. Our governments are giving notice that they are prepared to throw us to the wolves.

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Dear Frau Merkel
My father was conscripted in 1941 to defend the fatherland. He was born in Glachau. He survived the eastern front and in 1944 deserted because he couldn't bear any more Nazi bullshit. I am his son, I have inherited his distaste for bullshit and I fear, Frau Merkel, by supporting the nazi-like behaviour of Israel you are no different to the faceless Germans who complied with Nazi policy. I am proud that my father stood up to the likes of you, I am proud that he said enough is enough. What will it take, how many Israeli atrocities committed mostly against women and children will it take before you understand you are fooling yourself, that you are no different to the Germans who accepted that Nazi atrocities must occur? To what purpose, Frau Merkel, to what end? Why do you conclude that these murderers are acceptable? When will you see that Israel's claim that it's defending its borders is total and absolute and murderous bullshit?
regards, Dieter Barkhoff, proud son of a a free spirit who called bullshit bullshit.

David Cronin

David Cronin's picture

David Cronin is an associate editor of The Electronic Intifada. His latest book is Corporate Europe: How Big Business Sets Policies on Food, Climate and War (Pluto, 2013). His earlier book is Europe’s Alliance With Israel: Aiding the Occupation (Pluto, 2011).