Chancellor urges Germans to ‘guarantee safety’ of Jewish population

BERLIN — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz calls on his compatriots to show solidarity with the country’s Jewish population and guarantee their safety, condemning incidents at pro-Palestinian rallies.

“I ask for the support of all citizens so that together we can guarantee the safety of our Jewish fellow citizens, and to do this we must show solidarity with them,” Scholz says on ARD television.

“We can’t accept it,” he says of anti-Semitic messages heard at pro-Palestinian demonstrations held in Germany since Hamas’s devastating assault across southern Israel at the weekend, in which its gunmen killed 1,200 people, hundreds of them civilians, prompting massive retaliation by Israel in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip aimed at destroying the terror group.

Despite a ban on such demonstrations, around a hundred people gathered in Berlin’s Neukolln district on Wednesday evening in support of the Palestinians, in a tense atmosphere surrounded by a heavy police presence.

The rally had been banned by the police as “a danger to public safety and order”.

The Bild tabloid also reported incidents on Wednesday evening on the margins of a demonstration in support of Israel in Chemnitz, eastern Germany.

Several dozen people with Palestinian flags attacked some demonstrators with Israeli flags, witnesses told the newspaper.

On Saturday, when Hamas carried out the rampage, Berlin police reported people “celebrating the attacks on Israel by distributing pastries” in the Neukolln district.

The same evening, a pro-Palestinian rally was dispersed because of anti-Israeli slogans, according to the police.

Both actions were relayed on Twitter by the German account of the “Palestinian Prisoner Support Network” Samidoun, which hailed the Hamas attack as an act of “resistance”.

Since the Hamas assault, Germany has stepped up protection around the country’s Jewish institutions.

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