German Foreign Minister Baerbock supports Israel’s genocide and war offensive in the Middle East

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock’s trip to the Middle East highlighted once again the devastating role played by German imperialism in the genocide in Gaza and the escalation of war throughout the region.

Baerbock’s shedding of a few crocodile tears over the humanitarian disaster in Gaza cannot hide the fact that the German government fully supports the genocidal actions of the Israeli army. During her appearances in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, the Greens politician repeatedly expressed her solidarity with Israel and the far-right Netanyahu regime.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock delivers the keynote address at the Herziliya Forum in Herziliya, Israel, Monday, June 24, 2024. [AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo]

In her speech at the Herzliya conference in Tel Aviv, she explained, “The security of the State of Israel is paramount for my country. It is part of our raison d’état.”

This means “standing up for the security of Israel when it is under attack,” she continued. “It means saying very clearly that Israel has the right to defend itself, like any other country in the world.” She added that Hamas wants to “destroy Israel’s security, but also Israel’s legitimacy.”

Cynically, she equated the armed breakout of Hamas and other Palestinian groups from the “open-air prison” of Gaza with the crimes of the Nazis. “The images of 7 October have stayed with me since,” she said, “as a human” and “also as the foreign minister of a country that was responsible for the worst crime in history: the Shoah, the state-planned murder of six million Jews—with the aim of extinguishing Judaism in Europe.”

In fact, the genocide in Gaza underscores that the ruling class in Germany, eight decades after the Holocaust and the war of annihilation against the Soviet Union, is once again drawing on its genocidal traditions. Since the beginning of the war, it has not only unconditionally supported the Israeli onslaught and criminalised the enormous resistance to it, but has also increased German arms deliveries to Israel more than 10-fold.

Baerbock can repeat the government propaganda as often as she wants, but after more than 40,000 dead—mostly women and children—and the almost complete destruction of the Gaza Strip over the past nine months, there is no doubt that the Israeli army, with the full support of Berlin, is waging a war of extermination against the Palestinians.

Leading Israeli politicians and military figures made no secret of this right from the start. On October 9, 2023, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced that Israel was placing Gaza under “complete siege.” There would be “no electricity, no food, no water, no fuel.” He added, “We are fighting human animals,” and would act accordingly.

Netanyahu himself declared on October 28, 2023: “You must remember what Amalek did to you,” referring to a Bible passage in the Old Testament that says, “Now go and strike Amalek ... spare them not, but slay man and woman, children and infants.”

If Baerbock now criticizes some excesses of the Israeli army and warns of a conflagration in the region, this is mainly for one reason: She fears the growing opposition among workers and young people in the region and worldwide against the genocidal Israeli regime and against the even more expansive war plans of the imperialist powers in the region.

She warned:

These images from Gaza are travelling the globe, sparking strong emotions—in the Arab world, but also in the US, in Europe, in my country, everywhere. Disbelief. Sadness. But also anger ... this anger is not helping Israel to meet its security needs—to the contrary. It only serves Hamas’ cynical drive to provoke further escalation.

In reality, it is Israel and the imperialist powers that “provoke further escalation.” Their war aims go far beyond the expulsion and extermination of the Palestinians.

For Washington, Berlin and Brussels, Israel serves as a bridgehead to militarily enforce their economic and geostrategic interests in the Middle East and worldwide. The mobilization of the Israeli war machine is part of the broader agenda to eliminate Hezbollah in Lebanon and defeat Iran, thereby advancing the war offensive against Russia and China.

Gallant visited the US this week to hold talks about the supply of further US weapons to Israel and the expansion of the war. Earlier this week, the WSWS wrote in a perspective:

US imperialism is pushing towards a region-wide war against Iran on the Middle East front of a rapidly developing third world war. The major powers are locked in a ruthless redivision of the world aimed at securing access to raw materials, markets and geostrategic influence, and outdoing and ultimately subjugating their competitors.

German imperialism does not intend to stand aside in this imperialist redivision of the world, but wants to secure as much of the spoils as possible. This is the significance of Baerbock’s trip. In her speech in Tel Aviv, she made it unequivocally clear that she supports the military action against Hezbollah and Iran. Israel has “the right to defend itself against the relentless attacks of Hezbollah in the north,” she stressed.

And with regard to Iran, Baerbock said she wanted “a future in which the ruthless threat that Iran poses to Israel’s legitimacy is deterred, with the help of Israel’s international partners.”

She went on to say:

We saw how Israel’s regional neighbours helped to avert Iran’s aggressive drone and missile attack on 13 April. This was a glimpse at what might be possible in the region in security cooperation one day.

This is another warning. Baerbock’s intense diplomacy in the region—in recent months she has also travelled to Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, among other countries—is primarily aimed at stabilizing the hated Arab regimes and strengthening the war front against Hezbollah and Iran, as well as facilitating the deployment of more troops to the region. 

After a conversation with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati in Beirut on Tuesday, she complained on Deutschlandfunk that he had “no real access to Hezbollah.” That is why “the Lebanese army is also being strengthened with UNIFIL, the UN mission on the ground.”

At a party congress of the Greens restricted to delegates at the beginning of June, Baerbock even called for an “international protection force” for the Gaza Strip and the Middle East, among other things.