Slogans and army propaganda Gaza war causes a stir in Bonn

Bonn · Banned Palestinian slogans on the Adenauerallee, Israeli army propaganda in the Evangelical Forum: The Gaza war is also causing a stir in Bonn. The police file several charges.

 Palestinians and sympathisers demonstrate in Bonn.

Palestinians and sympathisers demonstrate in Bonn.

Foto: Martin Wein

A large contingent of police prevented a clash between participants and counter-demonstrators at a controversial event organised by the German-Israeli Association (DIG) at the Evangelical Church building on Monday evening. According to police reports, around 140 highly emotional Palestinians and left-wing sympathisers had gathered on the opposite side of the street on Adenauerallee. In chants, they not only demanded "Free Palestine", but also chanted "you know from where to where". This refers to the banned battle cry "From the river to the sea", which denies Israel's right to exist and calls for a Palestinian state from the Jordan to the Mediterranean. Shouts of "Zionists out" were also heard. The police filed two charges against speakers at the rally and two more against people holding placards with illegal inscriptions

In an open letter, George Rashmawi, spokesman for the Palestinian Community Bonn, a registered association, and board member of the Palestinian Community Germany, called on the Evangelical Forum to cancel the DIG event. The DIG has "still not been able to distance itself from Israel's war of expulsion. Rather, it has consistently acted as a mouthpiece for the Israeli government - and endeavoured to deny, relativise or justify its crimes," wrote Rashmawi.

His own association, on the other hand, explicitly welcomed Hamas' terrorist attack on Israel in a Facebook post on 8 October 2023: "Yesterday, the Palestinians decided to break the chains and destroy the walls. Because the Israeli occupation must be destroyed." Even in the meantime, he has not distanced himself from terror.

"We have the same right to organise an event. And we won't let anyone dispute that," said DIG board member Ursula Schmitt to the 90 registered participants inside the hall. What was billed as an expert discussion on the role of Iran and Germany in the Gaza conflict turned out to be an undifferentiated presentation of the Israeli army and government's point of view.

This was presented, in uniform, from Israel by retired officer and political scientist Arye Sharuz Shalicar, who has been active again as a spokesperson for the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) since the attack on 7 October. In the attack, all organs of the state and the army had failed by underestimating the capabilities of the Palestinian terrorist organisation Hamas and the Lebanese Hezbollah, said Shalicar. Israel sees itself surrounded by enemies supported by Iran and Russia.

This makes it all the more justified to completely destroy the terrorist militia, which is financed and controlled by the Iranian revolutionary regime. "The goal can only be the total capitulation of Hamas," said the army spokesman. He did not know how this could break Iran's influence in the region in the long term. Nor what would become of the Palestinians after a victory over Hamas, who according to Shalicar have been Islamistically indoctrinated by Hamas for decades.

There was only a moment of silence after a young Jewish woman from Bonn asked how many civilian casualties were justified for this goal. On the 143rd day of the war, the Hamas-controlled health authority in Gaza reported a figure of 29,782 Palestinians killed and 70,000 injured. This figure cannot be independently verified. Shalicar failed to provide a concrete answer. He showed no sympathy, but implicitly said that civilians in Gaza could expect no protection. As Hamas combatants were not fighting in uniform, he said, they were indistinguishable from civilians. Even in the fight against Nazi Germany, the Allies had not protected the civilian population.

Sharp criticism of the German government

The outcry from the world public was hypocritical, as in other conflicts such as the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq, for example, no consideration had been given to civilians. Shalicar, who grew up in Berlin himself, instead sharply criticised the German government, which he accused of ignoring Israel's security. The Shiite mullah regime as the "head of the snake", which only uses the Sunni Arabs as cannon fodder, must be cut off even more financially, he said.

Both the Bonn DIG Chairman Jan Eikenboom and the young Berlin political scientist Aras-Nathan Keul, who began his speech with a few sentences on Iran's role in the region, refrained from making any categorising reference to international law. Keul is himself a member of the DIG board and did not endeavour to maintain academic distance.

(Original text: Martin Wein; Translation: Mareike Graepel)

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