German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says in Tel Aviv that Berlin will always stand beside the Jewish state, citing its responsibility following the Holocaust.
“As I said last week in the Bundestag, in hard times, Germany has only one place, and it is alongside Israel,” Scholz says, at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The security of Israel and its citizens is crucial to Germany, Scholz says. “It is very important to say this today here during these difficult times in Israel: Germany’s history and the responsibility it had for the Holocaust requires us to maintain the security and existence of Israel.”
Scholz says Germany utterly condemns the “bloodthirsty” Hamas terrorist attack, referring to “the brutal attack on innocent citizens, the execution of citizens, murders of babies, abduction of women, men and children, and humiliation and presentation of Holocaust survivors, freezes the blood.”
He says Israel has the right and obligation under international law to protect its civilians. He notes that Germans are among those abducted, and said that it will work to help attain their release, and the release of all the hostages.
He says Germany will also work to prevent an escalation of the conflict into a wider one. “I warn all [other] actors” against getting involved in this conflict,” he says, saying this would be “unforgivable” and that Germany has been working in diplomatic circles to make that message clear.
He stresses German and Israeli commitment to democracy, rights and laws, and says Germany “is not indifferent to the humanitarian situation in Gaza” and that he and Netanyahu discussed “improving” the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
He says he will therefore travel from Israel to Egypt, to speak with President Sissi “on the situation and humanitarian aspects.”
And he concludes by saying “antisemitism has no place in Germany” and decries the celebration of violence. He calls Jewish life in Germany “a gift” and pledges to protect Jewish institutions in Germany.”
Netanyahu, who spoke before Scholz, says the Hamas massacre of Israelis on October 7 marks “the worst crimes committed against Jews since the Holocaust…”
Netanyahu specifies: “The decapitation of people; the shooting of little children with bound hands; the murder of children in front of their parents; the murder of parents in front of their children; the hiding of babies in the attic and the murderers who came to the attic to murder the babies; the rape and murder of women; the abduction of families, the tearing of grandmothers and Holocaust survivors into captivity; the death pits that remind us of Babyn Yar, where jeeps surround a depression in the ground where they crowd young people in, and they shoot them with machine-guns — this is the savagery that we only remember from the Nazi crimes of the Holocaust.
“Hamas are the new Nazis, Hamas is ISIS, in some instances worse than ISIS,” says Netanyahu. “And just as the world united to defeat the Nazis, just as the world united to defeat ISIS, the world has to stand united behind Israel to defeat Hamas.”
The Iran-Hezbollah-Hamas “axis of evil” has “the open goal to eradicate the state of Israel,” he says. Hamas’s open goal is to kill as many Jews as it can. “They would have killed every last one of us, murdered every last one of us, if they could; they just don’t have the capacity. But they murdered an extraordinary 1,300 civilians… in American terms, many, many, many 9/11s…. We must take action to defeat Hamas, and to ensure this does not happen again.”
He stresses: “But this is not only our battle — it is our common battle, the battle of civilization against barbarism.”
Netanyahu says that “if it’s not stopped here, this savagery will reach you very soon, and reach the entire world.”
This can only be achieved with the solidarity of the civilized world. He says he hopes many around the world see Hamas for what it is.
“We appreciate the fact that you come here to stand with us in this battle for the future of civilization,” Netanyahu concludes.
After Scholz’s statement, Netanyahu returns to the microphone and says, regarding the safety of civilians: “Hamas is committing a double war crime. Not only is it targeting and murdering civilians with unprecedented savagery. It’s hiding behind civilians — their own civilians. We’re calling on the civilians to leave Gaza, go south, to safe zones. And Hamas is preventing them, often at gunpoint, from doing so. Hamas wants to keep them there as a human shield, and prevent the people from leaving and getting out of harm’s way. It is important that the entire world understands this.
Responsibility for the abducted citizens of Israel and of dozens of other countries, and for the Palestinian civilians themselves, says Netanyahu, “sits squarely on the shoulders of the Hamas war criminals. They’re committing a double war crime — attacking civilians, and hiding behind civilians as human shields. The entire world should condemn it and support Israel in its just war.”