Germany and Israel’s genocidal partnership draws strong rebuke from Namibia

Germany and Israel’s genocidal partnership draws strong rebuke from Namibia

The Times of Israel reports:

The German government sharply rejects allegations before the UN’s top court that Israel is committing “genocide” in Gaza and warned against “political instrumentalization” of the charge.

Government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit says in a statement that Israel was “defending itself” after the “inhuman” attacks by Hamas on October 7.

He says Germany would intervene as a third party before the ICJ under an article allowing states to seek clarification on the use of a multilateral convention.

The move allows Germany to present its own case to the court that Israel has not infringed the genocide convention and has not committed or intended to commit genocide. [Continue reading…]

In 2020, Maresi Starzmann wrote:

While the German Empire was comparatively short-lived, its henchmen committed unspeakable acts of violence. In the former colony of German South West Africa — today’s Namibia — colonial troops carried out the first genocide of the twentieth century against the Ovaherero and Nama people.

From 1884, they had seized large portions of the indigenous lands and livestock and subjected men, women, and children to harsh labor and other forms of punishment. When, in 1904, the Ovaherero resisted, the German forces brutally suppressed the uprising and immediately afterwards issued an extermination order. According to Imperial Order 3737, “Every Herero found inside the German border, with or without a gun or cattle, will be shot.”

In addition to these killings, a telegram sent from the Imperial Chancery in January 1905 records the first use of concentration camps. Foreshadowing the crimes of the Nazi Holocaust, the Konzentrationslager were set up to cause “death by exhaustion” — through starvation, forced labor, malnutrition, sexual violence, medical experiments, and disease.

This “genocide by written order” — as it has been termed by Veraa Barnabas Katuuo, founder of the Association of Ovaherero Genocide in the USA — left 65,000 Ovaherero dead by 1908. Similar tactics were used against the Nama when they pushed back against colonial rule, resulting in 10,000 deaths.

Representatives of the Ovaherero and Nama have long requested a formal acknowledgement and apology from Germany for these crimes against humanity. Germany has thus far refused both — instead asking “for forgiveness for the events.”

While the United Nations’ 1985 Whitaker Report officially deemed the massacre against the Ovaherero and Nama a “genocide,” Germany accepted this only in 2016 — and with an important disclaimer. The Federal Foreign Ministry argued that it was not possible to legally codify the crime of “genocide” for events that had occurred before the Holocaust. Still today, the German government insists that its use of the term genocide in the context of Namibia is strictly “political-moral” rather than judicial.

While this kind of political maneuvering has allowed Germany to avoid liability for reparations, the country did enter bilateral negotiations with the Namibian government in 2015. Now, five years later, Germany is for the first time prepared to offer reparation payments, thereby hoping to settle the matter once and for all. [Continue reading…]

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