July 24th, 2006

Solidarity visit to Israel

"The accusation that Israel's defence measures are disproportionate and violate international law is devoid of any objective foundation. It reflects an attitude deeply hostile to Israel that is being deliberately promoted by much one-sided media reporting", said Dr. Dieter Graumann, Vice-President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, at the end of a two-day solidarity visit to Israel on 23/24 July by the European Jewish Congress. Over 30 participants from 14 European countries joined the tour. The Central Council was represented by its Vice-President Dr. Graumann and Secretary General Stephan J. Kramer.

"The German media hardly ever mention – if at all – that Hezbollah is cynically using the civilian population in Lebanon as a protective shield. Besides, some civilians are accepting financial payments to conceal missiles in their homes and cellars", explained Graumann. "The Israeli armed forces are doing the best they can to spare civilians and avoid collateral damage. But at the same time they need to take out launch positions in order to protect their own people from further attacks. Given the constant missile harassment waged by Hezbollah and Hamas over the last six months, with over 2000 missiles threatening and injuring about a million Israeli men, women and children, this question about a disproportionate Israeli response is easily answered", stated Graumann.

"The fact is that the missile harassment and the abduction of Israeli soldiers from Israeli territory are tantamount to a declaration of war on the state of Israel by the Islamist terrorists. The real strings are being pulled by Syria and Iran, "and they are only as strong as they are because the West, including Europe, is weak", argued Graumann.

"In the last few months, neither the international community nor the United Nations has expressed an adequate response to these acts of terror by Hamas and Hezbollah. UN General Secretary Kofi Annan is always in a hurry to condemn Israeli policies, but at the same time he fails to condemn the continued violation of UN Resolution 1559 by Lebanon and the missile harassment aimed at Israeli civilians. The forked tongues and self-righteousness of the UN and its top-level representatives follow a long tradition", maintained Graumann.

"The Israeli representatives were unanimous in welcoming the cogent stance of the German government. Chancellor Angela Merkel was praised by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as a particular and outstanding personality. "In Israel there is great trust in the constructive and friendly role that Germany is playing at Israel's side", said Graumann.

Dieter Graumann reiterated the solidarity of the Jewish community in Germany with the people of Israel. "Our common and most important task is to defend the state of Israel and to safeguard its existence enduringly in peace with its neighbours. We shall contribute what we can", confirmed Graumann.

The visitors were able to talk to many high-ranking figures, including Foreign Minister Livni, Defence Minister Peretz, deputy premier Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Berlin, 24 July 2006