Gaza Tribunal in BerlinPalestine Congress defies ban, finds Germany ‘aids and abets genocide’

Adapted by John Catalinotto from an article in the April 15 issue of the German daily newspaper, junge Welt, by Jamal Iqrith, who observed the tribunal. (jungewelt.de).

Demonstration protests banning of Palestinian Congress’s tribunal. Berlin, Germany, April 13. (Photo: junge Welt)

Although the German regime used police to storm and break up a legal in-person meeting by the Palestine Congress in Berlin that was holding a tribunal charging German military aid to genocide in Gaza and banned any future tribunal, the organizers succeeded in livestreaming on April 14 the “tribunal against German complicity in the genocide in Gaza.”

The German government also prevented an eyewitness of Gaza atrocities from entering the country to participate in the tribunal – a rector of the University of Glasgow, Scotland, the Palestinian-British doctor Ghassan Abu Sitta. 

The first part of the tribunal was dedicated to German support for Israeli crimes and Nicaragua’s lawsuit against the German government before the International Court of Justice in The Hague in this context. The ICJ’s decision in South Africa’s case against Israel over allegations of genocide in the Gaza Strip on Jan. 26 was also discussed.

Lawyer Nadija Samour declared the argument, also used before the ICJ, that Germany is primarily supplying “ammunition for training purposes” to be null and void. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz had shown that this “training ammunition” was used in the Gaza Strip. Samour said the German government is obliged right now to take the “genocide” seriously and put an end to it before it is too late.

Palestinian-American legal scholar Noura Erakat showed that the goal of the so-called Genocide Convention of 1948 was not the “punishment for genocide that has already occurred,” but the “prevention of future genocide.” The argument that the ICJ would first have to establish that genocide had actually taken place before measures could be imposed against Germany therefore does not hold water.

Furthermore, Erakat continued, the debate as to whether it is genocide in the legal sense distracts from the Israeli war against the civilian population in the Gaza Strip. Instead, the key point is that the warfare is “unacceptable” in light of the more than 15,000 children killed and “must be stopped immediately.” 

Erakat also described it as “racist” that “30,000 Palestinian victims” had not been enough for governments in the Global North to express words of criticism towards Israel, but that they had only protested loudly after the seven aid workers from an international humanitarian organization were killed.

Eyewitnesses expose horrors in Gaza

In the second part of the tribunal, two “eyewitnesses to genocide” reported on their experiences in the Gaza Strip since October 7. The German-Palestinian medical student Jamila Hamadaqa argued that 50% of the population of Gaza are minors. While the bombs and rockets were already driving the adults to despair, the situation for the children in the Gaza Strip was “indescribable,” she said. 

Abdallah Abdelhadi, who grew up in Darmstadt, Germany, and now works as a pediatrician in Gaza, said that October 7 had shown “how important a free Palestine is.” Every act of legitimate Palestinian resistance that the population had taken against the occupation had been crushed and punished by the Israeli state, including peaceful forms of protest.

The tribunal concluded with the adoption of a “resolution” accusing the Federal Republic of Germany of supporting Israel and demanding an immediate ceasefire. The demands also include “extensive reparation payments to the Palestinian people,” the “immediate cessation of all military, diplomatic and economic support for Israel by the German state” and an end to “over 76 years of Zionist settler colonialism and ethnic ‘cleansing’ of the entire occupied Palestine.”

Germany had “learned nothing from its past,” said a spokesperson for the Palestine Congress at the presentation of the resolution. “Never again!” must apply to everyone.

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