You are here

Germany, Genocide and Palestine


Protest at the German Consulate in Edinburgh, 14 April 2024
Protest at the German Consulate in Edinburgh, 14 April 2024

The following speech by Dr Issam Hijjawi was intended to be read on his behalf at a protest organised by Edinburgh Gaza Genocide Emergency Committee (EGGEC) outside the German Consulate, Edinburgh on Sunday 14 April 2024. The reading of Dr Issam's speech was unintentionally omitted in the confusion of the day. EGGEC believes it deserves wide attention and endorses its publication here. The views expressed are Dr Issam's own.


Last Friday, a pro-Palestinian conference at which Dr Ghassan Abu-Sitta was due to speak was broken up by more than 2500 German police shortly after he was turned back at immigration. It accuses Germany of being complicit in “Israeli apartheid and genocide” on its website and was scheduled to include speakers such as former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and Irish politician Richard Boyd Barrett, both known for their Palestinian activism.

Also, the conference was meant to be addressed remotely by Dr Ghassan's uncle, the well renowned historian Dr Salman Abu Sitta. Berlin police said it broke up the event because 86-year-old Salman Abu Sitta is “forbidden from being politically active in Germany.” Seventeen people were detained, according to a police statement that did not give further details on the reasons.

Wieland Hoban — the chairman of Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East, which co-organized the event — said that two of the group’s members were detained,  including one who held up a “Jews against genocide” sign outside the event venue in the morning.

Ghassan Abu Sitta, a reconstructive plastic surgeon who spent 43 days tending to the wounded in Gaza City last year, said that he was questioned for three hours at Berlin’s airport before being told he was not allowed to enter the country. He said he had also been informed he was not allowed to record any videos that could be shown in events in Germany this month.

“Today we saw how accomplices in a crime behave,” Abu Sitta said at a demonstration at the German Embassy in London after arriving back in Britain, referring to Berlin’s support of Israel’s war. “Accomplices in a crime try to hide the evidence and silence the witnesses.”


History is the best and most honest teacher of events, and to bring history alive to understand the events unfolding today, it's a must to remember that accomplices in genocide always back each other and step up to defend each other trying to bury the historic facts and undoubtable events.

In this context, it's worthy bringing history alive. The Herero and Nama genocide (formerly, also 'Herero and Namaqua genocide') was a campaign of ethnic extermination and collective punishment which was waged against the Herero (Ovaherero) and the Nama in German South West Africa (now Namibia) by the German Empire. It was the first genocide to begin in the 20th century, occurring between 1904 and 1908.

Around  100,000 Hereros and 10,000 Nama were killed in the genocide. The first phase of the genocide was characterized by widespread death from starvation and dehydration, due to the prevention of the Herero from leaving the Namib desert by German forces. Once defeated, thousands of Hereros and Namas were imprisoned in concentration camps, where the majority died of diseases, abuse, and exhaustion.

In 1985, the United Nations' Whitaker Report classified the aftermath as an attempt to exterminate the Herero and Nama peoples of South West Africa, and therefore one of the earliest attempts at genocide in the 20th century. In July 2015, the German government and the speaker of the Bundestag officially called the events a "genocide". However, it refused to consider reparations at that time. Despite this, the last batch of skulls and other remains of slaughtered tribesmen which were taken to Germany to promote racial superiority were taken back to Namibia in 2018, with Petra Bosse-Huber, a German Protestant bishop, describing the event as "the first genocide of the 20th century."

Yes, indeed that. In May 2021, the German government issued an official statement in which it said that Germany:

“apologizes and bows before the descendants of the victims. Today, more than 100 years later, Germany asks for forgiveness for the sins of their forefathers. It is not possible to undo what has been done. But the suffering, inhumanity and pain inflicted on the tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children by Germany during the war in what is today Namibia must not be forgotten. It must serve as a warning against racism and genocide.”

But when you witness the German officials acts of today, you will recognise that even its took them more than 100 year to acknowledge and apologise for the genocide is just  not more than empty words.

Last week, on 8th & 9th April 2024, the ICC debated the case brought by Nicaragua against Germany. Two of Nicaragua’s demands for emergency measures against Germany concern arms exports, asking to stop them. The third measure asks for UNWRA’s funding to be completely restored.

Nicaragua advocating that Germany is breaching its obligations under the Genocide Convention and international humanitarian law by continuing to supply weapons to Israel and withdrawing its support to the UN body supporting Palestinian refugees, UNWRA:

“There is another less noble reality that perhaps is not known by the generality of the German people: there is also a lucrative quid pro quo involved. German companies involved in the military industry are directly profiting from the situation as they have seen their share prices rise since 7 October and they have substantially increased the joint development contracts for weapons with their Israeli counterparts.”

“Israeli companies proudly advertise their products as ‘battle-tested’. Needless to say, that for years the international community has been aware that the testing field is Palestine and its people, particularly Palestinians living in Gaza.”

Germany was and is fully aware of the risks of using the weapons it supplied and continues to supply to Israel to commit genocide against the Palestinian people. And it goes without saying that the genocide in question would be internationally illegal if committed by Germany itself. It is a matter of the utmost urgency that Germany should at last suspend the aid and assistance it provides for this purpose; such aid and assistance fall fully within the definition of complicity incriminated, as such, by Article III of the [Genocide] Convention.

Despite all the aforementioned facts, the arrogant Tania von Uslar-Gleichen, legal adviser and director-general for legal affairs at Germany’s Federal Foreign Office defending Nicaragua case against Germany at the ICC said that “Israel’s security has been at the core of German foreign policy” and that protection of Israeli security and support for the rights of Palestinians have required Germany to make difficult choices.”

That statement of Tania von  Uslar-Gleichen is not more than another factual warning towards the direction and principals of the German government's internal and external policies to revive the very sickening ideology of nazism and white supremacy advocated by Hitler and his mouthpiece Goebbels during the middle of the last century which resulted in the death of more than 40 million people during WW2.

Germany's attitude towards the Palestinians and the Palestinian cause is a refined example of new wave of the elite political class which drag humanity to the evils of genocide embedded in the ideology of racism and white supremacy which needs to be stopped.

Your voices and presence today here is just a step in the right direction to prevent that, so thank you and hope to see you again and again as our fight is not over yet.

Dr Issam Hijjawi on behalf of Palestine Democratic Forum

Photo: Protest outside the German Consulate, Edinburgh, 14 April 2024. © Craig Maclean All Rights Reserved