Give Gaza hope

The international community must help avert a humanitarian disaster in the Gaza Strip, argues Wolfgang Gehrcke, the parliamentary foreign policy expert of German political party The Left.

Give Gaza hope
Photo: DPA

Only those with a heart of stone would not be deeply disturbed by the current humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza. Political efforts must now concentrate on the suffering of the people there.

The population in Gaza is roughly as large as Hamburg’s, but the war has completely cut it off from the outside world. There is no way out. Bombs and rockets are raining down on people in refugee camps and towns. Attacks are coming from the heavens and from the sea, as tanks approach Gaza City. Doctors and nurses are unable to help – they don’t have bandages, medicine, food, or electricity. The people in Gaza are without hope.

We are witness to their deepest desperation. The least that could be done would be to silence the weapons for 24 or 48 hours to help. That wouldn’t be enough, but it would be an important signal for a political solution. The task of German and European policymakers must be to demand Israel agree to a ceasefire.

No-one has to decide between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The alternative isn’t Israel or Palestine – the alternative is war or the peace process. Israel needs security, but it won’t have it when it enflames the hatred of its neighbours. Palestinians must have democracy and their own nation, but they won’t get it by firing rockets. Such is the evidence of the past 40 years of conflict in the Middle East.

Until the international community can achieve a peaceful resolution, the situation in Gaza will require the help of everyone genuinely interested in showing good will towards all people.

Wolfgang Gehrcke is an member of the German parliament for Die Linke. Translation by The Local.


Former Israeli soldier attacked on Berlin street

A former Israeli soldier was attacked in the German capital Berlin, police said Saturday, with one or several unknown assailants spraying him with an irritant and throwing him to the ground.

Former Israeli soldier attacked on Berlin street
Israeli soldiers on operation near the Gaza Strip. Photo: dpa | Ilia Yefimovich

The 29-year-old was wearing a top with the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) logo when the attackers started harassing him on Friday about his religion, the police added, calling it “an anti-Semitic attack”.

Officers are seeking the assailants, who fled immediately after the attack, on suspicion of a politically-motivated crime.

Saturday is the second anniversary of an attack by a far-right gunman on a synagogue in the eastern German city of Halle, who killed two in a rampage when he failed to break into the house of worship.

It was one of a string of incidents that led authorities to declare the far right and neo-Nazis Germany’s top security threat.

Also this week, a musician claimed he was turned away from a hotel in eastern city Leipzig for wearing a Star-of-David pendant.

While the allegations prompted a fierce response from a Jewish community unsettled by increasing anti-Semitic crimes, several investigations have been mounted into contradictory accounts of the incident.

In 2019, police recorded 2,032 anti-Semitic crimes, an increase of 13 percent year-on-year.

“The threat is complex and comes from different directions” from jihadists to the far right, the federal government’s commissioner for the fight against anti-Semitism Felix Klein said recently.