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German rebuff of Gaza ‘genocide’ case also has roots in Namibia

Published on 18 Jan 2024

This article originally appeared in the EU Observer on January 18, 2024 and was written by Bridge Initiative Senior Researcher Farid Hafez

The world has now witnessed more than 100 days of war in Gaza following the attacks on 7 October. While 132 hostages remain in the hands of the Palestinian militants, Gaza counts nearly two million displaced, thousands of destroyed homes, and nearly 24,000 dead at the hands of the Israeli army.

But for Germany’s political leadership, it is the plight of the Israelis, not the Palestinians that is worth mentioning.

The same German politicians find no words of criticism against the countless publicly-uttered words of genocidal intent, as recently presented by South Africa in its complaint against Israel at the International Court of Justice. (ICJ)

Germany’s latest move to outrightly reject the case brought by South Africa to the ICJ, as done by vice-chancellor Robert Habeck as well as foreign minister Annalena Baerbock (both from The Greens), speaks to the country’s ‘Staatsräson’ [reason of state] of unrestricted support of Israel, no matter what.

The official position claims Germany has a unique relationship with Israel based on its responsibility for the Holocaust in World War II.

But one has to question these days what this upholding responsibility is actually worth. As many historians of colonialism and genocide have been arguing for decades, the Nazi regime’s genocide against Jews and others was not the first occurrence of a large-scale systematic annihilation of enemies of the Germans.

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