Europe

Germany Rebuffs Claim Its Arms Sales to Israel Abet Genocide in Gaza

Germany on Tuesday defended itself against accusations that its arms sales to Israel were abetting genocide in Gaza, arguing at the International Court of Justice that most of the equipment it has supplied since Oct. 7 was nonlethal and that it has also been one of the largest donors of humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.

The case at the U.N. court in The Hague pits Germany, whose support for Israel is considered an inviolable part of the country’s atonement for the Holocaust, against Nicaragua, which brought the allegations to the court and is a longstanding supporter of the Palestinian cause.

Debate over Israel’s war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip has been muted in Germany, whose leadership calls support for Israel a “Staatsräson,” a national reason for existence, and where people have historically been reluctant to question that support publicly. But the mounting death toll and humanitarian crisis in Gaza have led some German officials to ask whether that unwavering backing has gone too far.

Lawyers for Germany said Tuesday that the allegations brought by Nicaragua had “no basis in fact or law” and rested on an assessment of military conduct by Israel, which is not a party to the case. Tania von Uslar-Gleichen, an official at Germany’s Foreign Ministry and lead counsel in the case, told the 15-judge bench that Nicaragua had “rushed this case to court on the basis of flimsiest evidence.”

On Monday, Nicaragua argued that Germany was facilitating the commission of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza by providing Israel with military and financial aid, and it asked for emergency measures ordering the German government to halt its support. The court is expected to decide within weeks whether to order emergency measures.

Some German news media said it was absurd that Germany should have to answer to accusations from Nicaragua, whose authoritarian president, Daniel Ortega, has jailed critics or forced them into exile, and has been accused in a United Nations report of crimes against humanity.

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