Hundreds of young women and men celebrating life at a music festival – chased through the desert by terrorists, slaughtered, a massacre. Old people, families, celebrating the Sabbath in their living rooms – brutally attacked, killed, defiled. Mothers with small children – beaten onto jeeps, humiliated, abducted as hostages.
What Israel has had to experience during the last few days is barbaric. It is beyond endurance. I do not believe that anyone in this chamber can fully comprehend the grief, the suffering of the many, many victims and their families.
There is no justification for Hamas’ actions. Israel has the right, indeed it has a responsibility towards its citizens, to defend itself within the parameters of international law against this horrendous terror. It is already clear that 7 October, which might well be the bloodiest day in Israel’s history, marks a watershed for the country. As the German Bundestag has just underscored, the Federal Government stands resolutely shoulder to shoulder with our Israeli friends. Israel’s security is part of Germany’s raison d’état. On this basis, I have offered Israel our full support in every possible area.
It is perfidious that the suffering of civilians, of innocent children, women and men is part of Hamas’ terrorist strategy – the suffering of Jewish, Israeli civilians, and now in particular that of the abducted hostages, including German nationals, holders of dual nationality.
This terrorist strategy is moreover perfidious because it plays with these lives in the most brutal manner. It also plays with the suffering and death of innocent Palestinian women and children, who are being used as human shields by Hamas terrorists. That is why it is so important, so important to me, that any support that can be provided by us from the outside is actually being provided, and that we work with our partners and friends in coordination with Israel to do everything we can to ensure that the terrorists’ plan does not become reality. That means we have to do everything in our power to ensure that the terrorists’ perfidious game with civilians does not succeed.
I am therefore grateful for the debate we conducted, in particular that among the democratic parties in in this House yesterday, about the question of further support. It would be wrong to now stop vital humanitarian assistance, the supply of food and water for families. For that is also part of the terrorists’ plan.
It is a well-known fact – and one that you, colleagues, are aware of – that the Federal Government and the European Commission regularly review their assistance for the Palestinian territories. We will look at everything once more in light of these exceptional circumstances. I want to stress that this includes humanitarian assistance and will be done in very close cooperation with the United Nations.
It is equally important that, together with the United Nations, we do everything we can to ensure that there are safe spaces for women and children in Gaza. Various UN institutions are now addressing this issue.
However, Israel’s security is the absolute priority in these hours and days. That is the focus of my talks. That is the focus of my work with the various partners in the region, who we all need now, as well as with our partners in Europe and around the world, in particular our American friends: to prevent Hamas from igniting a conflagration with its acts of terror, to prevent other players from pouring oil on the fire, to prevent the terrorists’ plan from succeeding.