Germany joins US, British, Israeli axis of aggression


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

World Socialist Web Site

WSWS : News & Analysis : Europe : Germany
Germany joins US, British, Israeli axis of aggression
By Ulrich Rippert
4 August 2006
Back to screen version | Send this link by email | Email the author

Last Sunday, German government spokesman Ulrich William spoke on behalf of the 
chancellor, Angela Merkel (Christian Democratic Union‹CDU), and expressed 
Merkel¹s ³great regret and deep sadness over the consequences of the Israeli air
raid on Qana.²

Two days later, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Social 
Democratic Party‹SPD) began an interview in the Süddeutsche Zeitung with the 
words: ³What took place on Sunday in Qana was appalling. The large number of 
civilian victims of the Israeli air raid is terrible and unacceptable.²

However, while the German population as a whole was genuinely appalled by clips 
of the charred and mutilated corpses of children in Qana, the German government,
a grand coalition of the CDU, Christian Social Union (CSU) and SPD, has refused 
to recognise and condemn this act for what it is‹a despicable war crime. 
Steinmeier¹s warning to the Israeli government‹that within the context of the 
³right to self-defence² any application of military force had to be appropriate 
and civilian victims avoided‹was a cynical and cowardly evasion.

In Qana, it was not a case of inaccurate targeting or failure to take steps to 
avoid civilian casualties. Rather, innocent women and children were deliberately
slaughtered so as to accelerate the flood of refugees from south Lebanon. This 
massacre was not an ³unfortunate exception,² but rather an expression of the 
true character of Israel¹s aggression, which up to now has cost the lives of 
more children than combatants.

At the meeting of European foreign ministers held in Brussels on Tuesday, 
Steinmeier, one day after his interview in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, not only 
blocked any condemnation of Israeli war crimes, but exerted pressure to strike 
the demand for an immediate ceasefire from the final joint statement issued by 
the ministers. The original draft, proposed by the Finnish presidency, called 
for an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon and included a sentence warning that 
³disregard for necessary precautions to avoid loss of civilian life constitutes 
a severe breach of international humanitarian law.²

Under pressure from Britain and Germany, both formulations were dropped and an 
alternative resolution was agreed (with the support of the Czech Republic, 
Poland and Denmark) that called instead on all parties to ³do everything 
possible to protect civilian populations and to refrain from actions in 
violation of international humanitarian law²‹a formulation which dovetails with 
Israel¹s own hypocritical justification for its war crimes. The resolution was 
further altered to place criticism of Hezbollah¹s rocket attacks on Israel 
before a reference to Israel¹s killing of Lebanese civilians in Qana.

These facts make it clear that, irrespective of Merkel¹s declarations of ³regret
and deep sadness² for the victims in Qana, the German government bears a large 
degree of responsibility for the war crimes that are being committed in Lebanon.
Nothing has served to strengthen and encourage the American-Israeli war policy 
more than the pro-American turn which has taken place in German foreign policy.

Before taking over as foreign minister in the current government, Steinmeier 
headed the chancellery in Germany¹s former SPD-Green Party government, which was
led by Gerhard Schröder. Steinmeier is well acquainted with the two-faced nature
of Schröder¹s opposition to the US-led war against Iraq. While publicly 
criticising the war, Germany worked behind the scenes to provide the American 
government and intelligence services with logistical support.

Nevertheless, Germany¹s public pronouncements against the war did have some 
effect. Germany has no permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, 
but there can be no doubt that its reservations over the Iraq war served to 
bolster other nations with Security Council representation and helped prevent 
the passage of a UN resolution backing the war.

This, in turn, was a significant factor in the popular mobilization against the 
war. From the very beginning, the character of this illegal war of aggression 
was clearly established, and millions took to the streets across the globe to 
demonstrate against it.

In this respect, the efforts of the new government to unambiguously demonstrate 
a pro-American shift in German foreign policy is of major importance to the US 
and Israeli governments. Merkel, Steinmeier and company have played a major role
in tilting the political balance of power in Europe clearly in favour of the US 
government and isolating critics of the US-Israeli war.

On Sunday evening, following the Qana massacre, Merkel made a point of 
telephoning the chief ally of George Bush in Europe, British Prime Minister Tony
Blair, rather than French President Jacques Chirac. In so doing, she made clear 
that Germany¹s new pro-US orientation was not just a temporary matter, or merely
the result of pressure from the US president. It was, in fact, a continuation 
and reaffirmation of the orientation Merkel indicated at the G-8 summit in St. 
Petersburg, when she appeared with Bush and joined him in justifying the Israeli
onslaught against Lebanon as a legitimate act of ³self-defence² following the 
July 12 border raid carried out by Hezbollah.

This change of orientation by the German government has served to change 
international relations and strengthen the most reactionary political forces. 
Germany¹s position has bolstered the Israeli regime and its sponsor in 
Washington in their conviction that their lawless aggression, including the 
bombing of a United Nations post, will go unpunished.

By giving the US and Israel its unqualified backing, the German government has 
encouraged the Bush administration and the Israeli government to intensify the 
slaughter in Lebanon. Thus the German government shares responsibility for the 
death and destruction being wreaked in Qana and throughout Lebanon, as well as 
in Gaza.

Three years ago, representatives of the German government were prepared to refer
to the framework of international law in articulating their opposition to the US
war against Iraq. For their part, the warmongers in Washington demonstrated 
their contempt for all such international rules and institutions. Now, the 
German government has made perfectly clear that it too no longer accepts 
international law as the framework for its policies.

This change in German foreign policy is particularly significant in regard to 
the SPD leadership. Not so long ago the SPD, well aware of the overwhelming 
opposition of German citizens to the Iraq war, exploited its anti-war stance to 
boost its electoral fortunes. But now that it has become clear that the 
post-World War II framework of international law has been irrevocably shattered,
and imperialist militarism and brute force have once again become the rule, 
rather than the exception, the SPD has responded as it repeatedly did in the 
past: It has lined up with the strongest imperialist power.

German weapons exports to Israel

There is another sense in which the German government bears responsibility for 
the war crimes being committed in Lebanon. While the US is primarily responsible
for equipping the Israeli military, Germany also supplies Israel with weapons‹in
particular, high-technology components.

In a July 27 broadcast, the television program ³Monitor² reported on the 
delivery of German-made weapons to Israel. According to the report: ³For days 
now, the Israeli air force has been carrying out raids in Lebanon. A part of the
targeting mechanism, i.e., the sighting device of Israeli fighters, is based on 
German know-how and has been developed and delivered by, amongst others, a 
former subsidiary of the (German) company AEG.²

The program then showed the targeting device built into the under-body of an 
Israeli F-16 bomber.

The report continued: ³On the ground as well Israeli troops are fighting with 
German technology. The Israeli tank ³Merkava² provides the main back-up for the 
current ground offensive in Lebanon, and the tank¹s barrel was developed by the 
Germen armaments company Rheinmetall. Moreover, without German technology the 
Israeli tank would be unable to shoot or drive, because the engine was developed
by German engineers, with the gears coming from the German firm based in 
Augsburg, Renk-AG.²

Although the German government claims it does not permit the shipment of weapons
to ³areas of tension,² the next German-Israeli armaments deal is already in the 
pipeline. Israel is very interested in the German armoured troop carrier named 
³Dingo.² The ³Monitor² program reported: ³According to our research, the German 
government recently agreed to the delivery of a test vehicle.² When asked by 
³Monitor² whether the ³Dingo² delivery would go ahead while Israel was waging 
war, government representatives refused to answer.

Copyright 1998-2006
World Socialist Web Site
All rights reserved

Escaping the Matrix website
cyberjournal website  
subscribe cyberjournal list     mailto:•••@••.•••
Posting archives      
  cyberjournal forum  
  Achieving real democracy
  for readers of ETM  
  Community Empowerment
  Blogger made easy