Despite the initial predictable calls for a political solution to a military conflict and justified concerns that Israelâ€™s retaliation to Hamas rocket attacks will only create a new wave of martyrs eager to attack the Jewish state in the future, Germany openly defends Israelâ€™s right to defend itself and puts the blame squarely on those responsible for the current conflict; Iranâ€™s Hamas hostage-takers in Gaza.
Labeling Israelâ€™s response as disproportionate aggression while giving disproportionate media coverage to pro-Hamas protests in Germany and elsewhere is one thing, this belongs to a standard German pacifist ritual established here after World War II and institutionalized during the Vietnam War era, a ritual that every German political high priest must dutifully carry out, but Chancellor Merkelâ€™s placing of the blame for the outbreak of violence in Gaza â€œclearly and exclusively with Hamasâ€ has once again demonstrated how Germans now see that they can no longer be everybodyâ€™s friend all of the time.
This will not stop Germany or other nations from calling to an end to the violence, of course, nor should it. And indeed, all parties claiming to seek a settlement in Gaza, save Iran and Hamas, have been calling for an end to the violence for years. But even German Realpolitik can only go so far when one of the conflicting parties openly calls for the destruction of the other, categorically refuses to take part in any proposed and internationally brokered settlement talks and openly advocates the use of terror as a means to reach its ends.
The obligatory German coverage of anti-Israeli demonstrations will not be any less heavy-handed than it has been in the past, of course. Anyone waving a Palestinian flag on Alexanderplatz will get generous national evening news coverage. But a certain amount of, well, sobriety has entered the picture as of late. Germanyâ€™s traditional unconditional support for â€œvictims of aggressionâ€ has now become harder to give now that the â€œvictimâ€ in question is actually holding others hostage while firing rockets at a friend.
Chancellor Merkel is right when she says the greater conflict can only be resolved through a political process which will end in a two-state solution. But even the Germans have seen that Hamas can never be a part of this or any similar solution. And once these hostage-takers have finally been removed from power, thatâ€™s when the next attempt at a two-state solution can be undertaken, yet again.
Come visit me at Observing Hermannâ€¦