to the Bundestag on
Solidarity with Israel
delivered 12 October
2023, Bundestag, Berlin, Germany
Off--Site YouTube Video of Address in German
[AI translated from the
Official Bundestag German language
Mr. Ambassador Prosor! Dear
colleagues! Ladies and Gentlemen!
On the morning of October 7, Israel woke up to a
Jewish holiday, Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israel from the Gaza
Strip. Heavily armed Palestinian terrorists entered Israel at the same time and
went murdering through towns and villages. More than 250 young men and women
were executed by the terrorists
at a music festival near the Gaza Strip.
The images are of inhuman horror. Dozens of Israelis,
including the elderly and young children, were taken hostage in the Gaza Strip.
Many of them were severely wounded in body and soul by their captors and
humiliated in the most disgusting way. Well over 1,000 Israeli citizens have
fallen victim to the terror so far. Thousands were injured, some seriously, and
are fighting for their lives in the country's hospitals.
In a country with 9 million inhabitants, this means that
almost everyone knows one of the victims. In these
hours, the whole of Israel is mourning for the dead and
fearing for the lost and displaced.
Dear friends in Israel,
we mourn and we share your suffering.
Our hearts are heavy in the face of the great suffering
that terror, hatred, and contempt for humanity have
brought upon your country, upon Israel. We condemn
the violence of the terrorists in all its severity. And we
say in all clarity: Israel has the right, guaranteed by
international law, to defend itself and its citizens against
this barbaric attack.
Security in and for Israel must be restored, and therefore
Israel must be able to defend itself. At this moment,
there is only one place for Germany: the place at Israel's
side. This is what we mean when we say that Israel's
security is Germany's raison d'ętre.1
Our own history, our responsibility arising from the
Holocaust, makes it an everlasting task for us to stand up
for the existence and security of the State of Israel. This
responsibility guides us.
Our connection with Israel and its people today is also
very direct in other ways. Many Germans live in Israel,
often citizens of both states. Many Israelis live here in
Germany. Many of us have friends in the other country. That is also why many Germans were in Israel at the
time of the attack. And so there are several Germans
among the more than 100 Hamas hostages.
I am grateful that this House has
reacted immediately to the terrorist attack. Five German
parties already clearly expressed their solidarity with Israel in a joint statement on Sunday. And I welcome the
cross-party motion that will be adopted today. These are
important and necessary signs of our solidarity with
Israel in the fight against terror.
I also emphasized this solidarity to Prime Minister
Netanyahu when we spoke on the phone on Sunday. I
have also coordinated closely with President Macron,
President Biden, Prime Minister Sunak and Prime
Minister Meloni in recent days. We are in complete
agreement: our countries will support Israel in defending
itself and its people against such atrocities. And one thing
is clear: our solidarity is not limited to words.
I have asked Prime Minister Netanyahu to remain in
close contact and to inform us of any need for assistance.
This applies, for example, to the care of the wounded,
but we will also examine and grant other requests for
assistance from Israel without delay.
Dear colleagues, our immediate concern today is for the
children, women, and men who have been abducted to the
Gaza Strip. Their fate deeply concerns us all. We fear
that Hamas will continue to use them as human shields in
the coming weeks. And we are working with all our
might to ensure that all hostages are released -- in close
coordination with Israel and, of course, with the
Our second major concern is the regional dimension
of the conflict. While we do not yet have any airtight evidence that Iran is behind this cowardly attack
by the Hamas, or offered concrete and operational support. But it is clear to all of us that
without Iranian support over the last few years, Hamas would not have been able
to carry out these unprecedented attacks on Israeli territory. The jubilant
statements by the heads of the Iranian regime and some other government officials
in the region are abhorrent. The leadership in Tehran is unashamedly showing its true
colors and confirming its role in Gaza.
Our regional focus is also on the south
of Lebanon. Like Hamas, Hezbollah maintains close ties with Iran. It, too,
questions Israel's right to exist. Hezbollah must not
intervene in the fighting. This would not only result in a
justified and harsh Israeli reaction.
Lebanon, which is already destabilized by the unfortunate
actions of Hezbollah, would be brought to the brink of
the abyss. Above all, however, there would then be the
threat of a devastating conflagration with possible
repercussions as far away as North Africa and Yemen.
Many countries in the Middle East have already seen
great suffering in recent decades. The atrocities of the
so-called Islamic State, the IS,
occurred less than a decade ago. Together with our partners,
we are therefore using all our channels to prevent such an
apocalyptic scenario. Together, we call on everyone in
the region to refrain from further acts of hostility against
Israel. Our message is clear: it would be an unforgivable
mistake to attack Israel.
I am in close contact with the Egyptian head of
state el-Sisi, who also has channels of communication to Gaza.
Later today, I will speak with Turkish President Erdogan.
I am also receiving the Emir of Qatar, whose country has
an important mediating role, which it is also using these
days. All three can play an important role in mediation and deescalation in the current situation.
To the critics of such
contacts and the fact that we are speaking, I say: It would
be irresponsible not to use all contacts that can help in
this dramatic situation! We are doing this, by the way, in close coordination with
Israel and for those who have been kidnapped by Hamas.
Next week I will also receive the Jordanian king, who
plays a special role in Israeli-Palestinian relations.
Ladies and gentlemen, Hamas' attack on Israel also has
consequences for our cooperation with the Palestinians. I
ask myself: Where is the clear condemnation of terrorist
violence by the autonomous authority and its
I say: Your silence is shameful!
We are putting our entire development cooperation with
the Palestinian Territories to the test. Our yardstick will
be whether and how our projects support peace in the
region and best serve Israel's security. As in the past, we
will also discuss this with the Israeli government, which has had interest in many of our projects in the
past. Until this review is completed, we will not be able
to provide any new development cooperation funds.
Our humanitarian aid ensures more than half of the
population, especially in the Gaza Strip, which lacks the
most basic necessities for survival: food and basic
health care. Hamas, on the other hand, offers them
nothing but poverty and suffering. Hamas is not acting in the interests of the Palestinian
people. And it is unfortunately foreseeable: The
suffering and hardship of the civilian population in the
Gaza Strip will only increase. Hamas is also responsible
for this with its attack on Israel.
Even if it is difficult for us at the
moment -- in view of the terrible reports and images from
Israel and the Gaza Strip -- we must also look at the
long-term perspective of the Middle East. There have
certainly been changes for the better there in recent
times: the normalization of relations between Israel; the
United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in 2020; the end of
the Qatar crisis in 2021; the resumption of
relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia in 2023; the last
chance for a normalization of relations between Israel
and Saudi Arabia as well. We must not allow terror to
destroy these positive developments.
And that may be
precisely the goal of terror.
All the more reason for us to continue to use diplomatic
means to find solutions to the numerous conflicts in the
region. In doing so, we will not give up the goal that our
Israeli friends and the Palestinians who want peace will
one day be able to live side by side and without terror,
even if that seems further away than ever today.
In the past few days thousands of
citizens here in Berlin and in other German cities have
literally shown their support for Israel. The blue and
white flags with the Star of David in front of the
Brandenburg Gate sent a good signal of solidarity,
friendship and solidarity with Israel to the world.
there were other, shameful images from Germany last
weekend, images of men and women celebrating the
terror of Hamas on our streets, giving free rein to their
hatred of Israel and of our fellow Jews. This is abhorrent.
It is inhumane. It goes against all the values to which we
as a country are committed. We will not accept hatred
and incitement without action!
We do not tolerate anti-Semitism. Zero tolerance
against anti-Semites! That must and that will be our security authorities with
all due rigor.
Anyone who glorifies the crimes of Hamas or uses its
symbols is liable to prosecution in Germany.
who condones murder and manslaughter or incites
criminal acts is liable to prosecution.
Anyone who burns
Israeli flags is liable to prosecution.
supports a terrorist organization like Hamas is liable to
The federal and state law enforcement agencies will hold
anyone who does such a thing accountable -- with all the
means that our defensible constitutional state offers.
These means expressly include bans on associations and
activities. The Federal Ministry of the Interior will issue a
ban on Hamas' activities in Germany.
An association like
Samidoun, whose members celebrate
brutal acts of terrorism on the open street, is banned in
Our law of association is a sharp sword, and we will
draw this sword here as a strong constitutional state.
Immediately after the terrorist attack on Israel began, we
also increased the protection of Jewish and Israeli
institutions in this country. This is unfortunately
necessary; after all, anti-Semitic hatred and agitation are
circulating on the Internet and in the social media,
blaming Israel for the attacks.
To this I say: this is
perpetrator-victim reversal of the most perfidious kind.
In recent years, I have often worked with Israel.
I have spoken with many of the responsible officials in
the country, including representatives of the current
government. I always raised critical issues, such as the
or the dwindling prospects for a two-state solution.
nothing justifies even remotely violence against innocent
women and men!
Nothing, but nothing at all justifies the
terror of Hamas!
There is also nothing to relativize. Any "yes, but" is
completely out of place in view of the terrorists' brutality
and contempt for human life, ladies and gentlemen.
The Federal President and you, Madam President, have
called on us to be vigilant and to stand clearly by the side
of the citizens of Israel who are under attack. We are
doing this today and will continue to do so in the future by
unequivocally committing ourselves to Israel's security
and by protecting our Jewish fellow citizens here in
We do this out of responsibility for our history
and in deep solidarity and friendship with the Jewish state
Thank you very much.
1 French for "reason"
(or justification) "for existence." In this context, the meaning is
closer to "profound, abiding commitment."
Page Updated: 10/17/23
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