There are two disturbing aspects of Germany’s policy vis-a-vis the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. One is Germany’s decision to fill the financial gap left by America’s decision to stop supporting UNRWA, the UN’s Palestinian refugee relief fund. The second is Germany’s financial support for the illegal Bedouin village of Khan al-Akmar, located just east of Jerusalem, which Israel’s Supreme Court ruled must be evacuated.
Both these things stem from a German moral position, which makes them all the more irritating.
Back in 1981, then-Prime Minister Menahem Begin rebuked German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt for giving moral support to the Palestinian cause. “From a moral point of view,” said Begin, “Schmidt’s statements certainly rank as the most callous ever heard … it seems that the Holocaust had conveniently slipped his memory. The German debt to the Jewish people,” continued Begin, “can never end, not in this generation and not in any other.” Schmidt’s sympathy for Israel’s enemies was all the more troubling in light of what Begin called Germany’s “lucrative business deals with Saudi Arabia.”
One could easily find the similarities between the positions taken by Schmidt and Merkel, who now challenges Israel’s sense of morality, while at the same time seeking lucrative business deals with Iran. To fully appreciate how problematic Merkel’s sense of morality is, one needs to understand UNRWA and Khan al-Ahmar.
UNRWA is the only UN refugee relief organization devoted to a single group of people, the Palestinians. Furthermore, under the auspices of this organization, the number of Palestinian refugees has grown from less than half-a-million in 1948 to more than five million today (so much for Palestinian “genocide”).
UNRWA is the institution that invented the notion of hereditary refugee status. No other group of refugees (and there were more than 100 million refugees in the 20th century) was ever granted this counterproductive benefit, which we must conclude has but one goal: to destroy Israel. Likewise, no other group of refugees has benefited from UN aid for such a long period of time. All other refugee crises were solved within a decade or two. But UNRWA continues to nourishing the Palestinian refugee problem for more than 70 years, without showing any signs of fatigue. In this light, Merkel’s support of UNRWA is anything but moral.
And if invigorating UNRWA wasn’t enough, Germany is actively intervening in Israel’s internal affairs by speaking out on behalf of the illegal settlement of Khan al-Ahmar. Since the early 1990s, the Israel Supreme Court has three times ruled against the Bedouin settlement, which was represented by radical left-wing Israeli NGOs bankrolled by European nations, Germany included.
As someone who once lived in the town of Ma’aleh Adumim, I followed closely how the few tents of the Jahalin tribe situated just half a mile from my house slowly became a village of shacks that now nearly surrounds Ma’aleh Adumim. The Jahalin faction now living in the West Bank broke away the part of their tribe that resides in “Israel proper” over some sort of internal feud shortly after the 1948 War of Independence. It wasn’t until the 1990s that the Jahalin in the West Bank began to identify themselves as Palestinians, and they did so only because it was economically expedient to do so.
The repeated appeals to the Supreme Court, and Israel’s sluggish implementation of the court’s rulings, has turned Europe’s attention to this shabby village. It was quickly became a case study for Israel’s alleged immorality and Europe’s commitment to the supposedly moral causes of all peoples who hate Israel with a passion. This, according to Merkel, is a sound moral position.
It would have been one thing to criticize Israel if it was truly an incarnation of apartheid South Africa. It is an entirely different thing when, Germany of all countries, accuses Israel of lacking morality, while at the same time supporting the immoral agendas of both the Palestinians and Iran.
This is what’s so irritating about what amounts to condescending preaching coming from a country that lost any right to chastise Israel. As Israeli journalist Shimon Riklin rightly said, when it comes to criticizing Israel, Germany should keep its mouth shut for the next 2,000 years.