Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is stubborn on the Gaza war. Despite all the solidarity, Germany is not obliged to give up its own values.

A woman and a girl walk through a completely destroyed neighborhood in Gaza.

Scenes of destruction in Gaza amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas Photo: Dawoud Abu Alkas/Reuters

The Israeli government has largely squandered the support it enjoyed in Europe and North America. Even in Germany there is hardly anyone left who wants to support Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and say: Let the bombing continue, Gaza does not deserve it any other way.

Netanyahu clearly does not feel he owes anything to those who have always defended his country's interests. Rather, he trusts that his impertinence and stubbornness toward allies will actually benefit him internally and continue to be seen as a strength at home: Show them, Bibi, slap his soft-spoken good intentions in their faces! ! Let Germany, let the United States sing their diplomatic songs, here we have to fight for ourselves anyway.

For the Federal Republic, Israel's right to exist is not in doubt. It has to continue like this, the reasons are all known. Until now this meant that the Federal Republic's support for Israel's security, which included all types of arms deliveries, was not in doubt. It doesn't have to stay like this. Netanyahu is going nowhere in the Gaza war. There should be nothing left of Gaza, nothing is worth the lives of the people there, and he shows no desire to reach an agreement for a shared future with the Palestinians. This security policy is not worth supporting, not anymore.

At least the Israeli war cabinet is now opening some border crossings for food deliveries, but whether and how these can be distributed remains to be seen. But for this first step it was necessary to intensify the US threat to suspend military aid, provoked by the death of seven employees of the international aid organization World Central Kitchen.

There must be nothing left of the Gaza Strip; Netanyahu believes that the lives of the people there are worth nothing

That does not mean that the point has been reached where the question of whether Israel's war deserves support should be tilted. There were already enough reasons to reach the same conclusion before. The point is not that the lives of helpers from Europe or Australia are somehow more valuable than those of children who have not yet had the chance to decide against Hamas. The incident – and it is currently unclear whether it was intentional – illustrates that Israel's war threatens even the food supply to the starving population in northern Gaza. That simply should not be the case.

Israel had every right to fight back after the unbearable Hamas attacks six months ago, which are still difficult to describe. The war against Hamas necessarily involves civilian casualties as long as this terrorist group is dishonorable enough to use civilians as shields. It would be desirable for Hamas to be destroyed, and if so, the Gaza Strip would only have something of a future without Hamas.

Too many innocents are dying

But now it turns out that the kind of war Israel is fighting costs the lives of many Hamas cadres, but only at the price of too many people dying who have nothing to do with Hamas, too many rules that must be applied in war. They are broken, so the situation makes it clear that new cadres of terrorist troops will emerge here.

Of course, stopping arms exports to Israel would initially be more symbolic in nature. The country does not depend on weapons from Germany, although export permits to Israel have multiplied since October 7, 2023. In any case, such an export ban would probably be met with derision by Netanyahu.

Germany is losing credibility

But there are very legitimate questions about whether arms deliveries to Israel are still permissible under international law. Germany loses credibility in the eyes of the world if it sets fundamentally different standards for Israel than for other countries. How does the federal government want to demand international solidarity with Ukraine on the basis of international law if it allows such exceptions to international law for Israel?

Israel's great democracy – yes, exactly: the only democracy in the Middle East – must manage to get rid of its current government. It may be that the international isolation of Netanyahu's government actually reinforces his and his supporters' false pride. But the Federal Republic is not obliged to renounce its own values ​​in favor of an Israeli internal policy that is based only on blind and hardened defiance.