• Germany's news in English

Israel blocks German minister's Gaza visit

DDP/DPA/The Local · 20 Jun 2010, 11:45

Published: 20 Jun 2010 11:45 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

During his current Middle East trip he had intended to visit work carried out in the stricken region with German funds, but despite talks with the Israelis which continued until the last minute, he was not allowed in.

“I had hoped that this could have been a clear political signal for an opening and for transparency,” he told the current affairs programme heute on ZDF television station.

“Sometimes the Israeli government does not make it easy for its friends to explain why it behaves in the way it does.”

Plainly furious, he also gave an interview to his local paper.

“The refusal of entry for the German Development Minister into the Gaza Strip is a big foreign policy mistake of the Israeli government,” said Niebel, according to Monday’s edition of the Leipziger Volkszeitung.

He had intended to visit the Hamas-ruled area on Sunday in order to inspect a sewerage works that has been financed by German aid funds.

Referring to the loosening of the blockade that the Israeli government recently announced, Niebel said, “if the Israeli government expects support for its new Gaza strategy, it must first of all ensure more transparency and for a new partnership.”

He said the blockade, which is aimed at preventing Hamas members in the Gaza Strip from obtaining weapons and materials to build rockets which are fired over the border into Israel, was not a sign of strength.

Rather, he said, it was, “proof of unspoken fear.” He also urged the Israeli government not to let the clock run out on the remaining opportunity for peace talks.

“It is five to twelve for Israel,” he said.

Story continues below…

Hamas took power in Gaza in 2007, after which Israel imposed a blockade on the small coastal region. An attack by Israeli commandos on an aid convoy aiming to break the blockade and take supplies to Gaza at the end of May resulted in nine deaths among those on board and global condemnation of the Israelis’ actions.

A group of German Jews are preparing at least one more aid trip which they intend to sail to Gaza.

DDP/DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

15:26 June 20, 2010 by Internuncio
"Hamas took power in Gaza in 2007,..."

For safety's sake, please let me point out that Hamas was voted into power by the people of Gaza. Hamas did not take anything. Thank you.
19:39 June 20, 2010 by wood artist
In order to have peace, both sides need to want peace. Unfortunately, neither side does. It's tempting to give up and simply say "fight it out." But it would be a shame to give up on humanity. Neither side is willing to do the things necessary to bring peace to the region.

21:26 June 20, 2010 by pmach
Palestine is the occupied Country not Israel. Palestinians are Christians who converted from the real Jews in their chosen land. The European Jews have used the bible and a gun to take title to land that they clearly have no title to.

In all fairness Palestine is a caged NAZI concentration camp nothing more. The Palestinians are being exterminated under everyone's nose.
23:38 June 20, 2010 by Avidror
@ Internuncio

Hitler was elected by the Germans. Does it justify nazism?

@ wood artist

According to polls, the majority of the Israelis and the Palestinians want peace.

@ pmach

The Jews were those who accepted a two-State solution in 1947; the Arabs were those who rejected it.
00:52 June 21, 2010 by Prufrock2010
The Jews "accepted" a two-state solution in 1947 because they had no choice if they wanted statehood, which came about in 1948. Since that time, Israel has consistently rejected a two-state solution, as it does today.

It is possible to criticize the positions of both Israel and its enemies when both are wrong, as both are now. In my view, Israel has become the very thing the Jews fled from before the nation of Israel was established. If the majority of Israelis wanted peace, they would not have elected Benjamin Netanyahu. His definition of peace does not include the Palestinians.
04:53 June 21, 2010 by vonSchwerin
"If the majority of Israelis wanted peace, they would not have elected Benjamin Netanyahu."

The "majority of Israelis" did not vote for Netanyahu. Netanyahu's party only got 21% of the nationwide vote. That wasn't even enough to come in first place. The pro-peace parties Kadima, Labour, Hadash, and Meretz got 22%, 10%, 3%, and 3% respectively. Arab Israeli parties got 7%.

I realize that Yisrael Beitenu got 11%, ultra-orthodox parties got 13% and nationalist religious parties got 6%. Still, keep in mind that 45% of the country explicitly rejected Netanyahu's vision. In Tel Aviv, it was over 60%. (See Haaretz "How they voted: See Israel election results by city/sector.")

Israel is a VERY divided county, and Netanyahu was able to become prime minister by exploiting that division and making cynical bargains with the religious parties to build a patchwork coalition. He may be P.M. and is setting the policy, but I don't think that he represents the core beliefs of the majority of Israelis. He certainly doesn't represent the majority of non-orthodox Israelis.
09:38 June 21, 2010 by auniquecorn
"During his current Middle East trip he had intended to visit work carried out in the stricken region with German funds,"

The whole world knows what the stricken region is doing with any funds that come thru..Building Fu$%3& bombs.
11:46 June 21, 2010 by LancashireLad

Do you not realise that your style of thinking is exactly that of those (on both sides) making bombs?


Your answer to pmach is only partly correct. It may well be that the majority of Palestinians and Isrealis want peace - but it's not the majority who hold power and the minority that do, don't want peace.


I was under the impression that Palestinians were actually Islamic, but I admit there is probably a mix of Islam and Christianity there.
15:33 June 21, 2010 by Avidror
@ Prufrock2010

When he was Prime Minister, Ehud Barak proposed a Palestinian State, which would include, by the way, some East Jerusalem's areas. Palestinian response consisted of the al-Aqsa Intifada.

Voting for one party or another doesn't mean that you don't want peace. 2009 elections were influenced by security concerns, and because of that Netanyahu attracted so many votes, though the most voted party was the Kadima and not the Likud.

What I wrote about Israel's desire for peace is based on many polls made during many years, Just search in Google for them.
16:52 June 21, 2010 by bernie1927
What do any of these comments have to do with the story? A German minister wants to check up on the progress of development work in Gaza and the Israelis forbid him to go there. That is the fact. The gall of the Israelis is incredible and so is the cowardice of the German government. Why not tell Netanyahu to go to hell and break the blockade and just go or fly into Gaza? The Israelis wouldn't dare do anything to prevent it.
23:34 June 21, 2010 by harrylatour
A flying visit,,,why bother,he should nip into Gaza through one of the tunnels,
04:05 June 23, 2010 by deutschamer
People should try to learn lessons from history. Keeping people in poverty breeds radicalism. After WW1, Britain continued its blockade of Germany for "punishment" resulting in much starvation. When Germany went bankrupt and could no longer pay war reparations, the French occupied the industrial Ruhr gebiet to take their reparation directly from industrial production and coal. The German government began to print money to pay reparations causing hyperinflation destroying the middle class savings and bond holdings. The German people soon realized peace under the Versailles treaty was worse than the war, at least for the civilians.

The only thing that would work for sure would be the complete annihilation of Gaza and the removal of its people. Since that is not acceptable in this day and age, the only other thing to try is kindness (a Christian concept, love your enemy, etc.). Israel and the UN could work to provide better education, stimulate their economy and so forth but at the same time, and very importantly, still have ubiquitous intelligence on the Hamas radical and continue to prevent attacks on innocent Israeli civilians. If they were lifted out of poverty, they would get too busy enjoying their lives to be so mean and hateful.
11:18 June 23, 2010 by DoubleDTown
"If they were lifted out of poverty, they would get too busy enjoying their lives to be so mean and hateful."

Right, if only the Gazans could enjoy the wealth and freedoms experienced by the doctor-bombers in the U.K., or the German-living university-educated 9/11 killers, or . . . etc.
00:46 June 24, 2010 by deutschamer
Good points DoubleDTown. I should have addressed that in my original post.

The few well off radicals in poverty cultures tend to be the ones who act on the frustrations. Maybe its because they are more capable of doing it. For example, Bin Laden is from a rich family. But if their home country masses didn't want that kind of thing the radicals would not be heroes, but pariahs. I think the movement would quickly dry up if it were not popular and supported by the masses.

My opinion. Not an expert, but it seems to be that way to me looking a past history of the world.
23:59 June 25, 2010 by DrGideonPolya
Germany's Development Minister Dirk Niebel is in good company in being refused entry to Apartheid Israel's Gaza Concentration Camp - outstanding anti-racist, humanitarian Jewish scholars Professor Norman Finkelstein (US), Professor Richard Falk (US) and Professor Noam Chomsky (US) were also refused entry to the Israeli-occupied Occupied Palestinian Territory by the racist Zionists running nuclear terrorist Apartheid Israel.

Hamas secured 76 out of 132 seats in a landslide victory in Occupied Palestinian elections held under Israeli guns in 2006. Unfortunately Apartheid Israel then attempted to kill or imprison all the Hamas MPs and in 2008/2009 killed 1,400 Palestinians (including 600 children) attempting to capture the democratically elected Hamas MPs who has manged to flee to the relative safety of the Israel-surrounded Gaza Concentration Camp (NB zero Israelis had been killed by Gaza rockets in the preceding year, belying the official lying Israeli excuse for the Gaza Massacre)..

Race-based Apartheid Israel grossly violates Indigenous Palestinian human rights. Thus of the circa 11 million Palestinians in the world, only adults of the 1.5 million Arab Israelis are permitted to vote for the Government ruling Israel-Palestine (however even in this instance, 2 major Arab Israeli parties were banned prior to the last Israeli elections). Post-invasion Occupied Palestinian excess deaths total 0.3 million, and post-invasion under-5 infant deaths total 0.2 million. Apartheid Israel abusively incarcerates 800,000 Children in the Gaza Concentration Camp without charge or trial but solely for the 'crime" of being Indigenous Palestinians. Apartheid Israel deliberately kills over 6,000 Occupied Palestinians each year (mostly children and mostly through deliberately-imposed deprivation) - Israeli state terrorism indeed.

Israel is not a democracy - it is a race-based Apartheid state and indeed the only Apartheid state left after the fall of the Apartheid Israel-backed Apartheid regime in South Africa. All decent Germans and indeed all decent people should boycott racist , war criminal, genocidal Apartheid Israel just as they successfully boycotted racist Apartheid South Africa 2 decades ago.
Today's headlines
Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd