BERLIN (AP) — Germany is offering military help to Israel and promising to crack down on support for the militant Hamas group at home following the group’s attack on Israel. Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Thursday underlined Germany’s historical responsibility for Israel’s security.
The Defense Ministry said it agreed to an Israeli request to use up to two of five Heron TP combat drones that are currently leased by the German military and were already in Israel for the training of German servicepeople. And Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said in Brussels that Israel has requested ammunition for warships, a request that will now be discussed.
Scholz told the German parliament that he has asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to inform Germany of any needs, “for example the treatment of wounded.”
“At this moment, there is only one place for Germany — the place at Israel’s side,” he told lawmakers. “Our own history, our responsibility arising from the Holocaust, makes it a perpetual task for us to stand up for the security of the state of Israel.”
Scholz noted that thousands of people have demonstrated in support of Israel in recent days, but said that “there were also other, shameful pictures from Germany last weekend.”
On Saturday, a small group handed out pastries in a Berlin street and dozens of people later demonstrated in celebration of the Hamas attack.
Scholz said that Germany will issue a formal ban on activity by or in support of Hamas, which is already listed by the European Union as a terror group. He said groups such as Samidoun, which was behind the weekend pastry action, will be banned.
Scholz said there will be “zero tolerance for antisemitism.”
The chancellor also questioned the lack of a clear condemnation of the Hamas attack by the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, saying that “their silence is shameful.”
Germany has suspended development aid for the Palestinian areas, though it is keeping up humanitarian help.
Scholz also assailed Iran’s role in the region. “We have no tangible evidence that Iran gave concrete and operative support to this cowardly attack by Hamas,” he said. “But is clear to us all that, without Iranian support in recent years, Hamas would not have been capable of these unprecedented attacks on Israeli territory.”
Several German citizens were among those kidnapped in Saturday attack.