After the Islamist Hamas attack on Israel with hundreds of deaths, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) announced a ban on the organization's activities in Germany. In addition, the Palestinian network Samidoun should be banned, as Scholz said in his government statement in the Bundestag.
Hamas is already classified as a terrorist organization by the EU and the USA. The Samidoun association, which calls itself the prisoner solidarity network, had already celebrated the bloody terrorist attack on Israel on Saturday by distributing sweets on Sonnenallee in Berlin-Neukölln. "This is disgusting. This is inhumane. This contradicts all the values that we are committed to as a country," said Scholz. "We do not accept hatred and agitation. We do not tolerate anti-Semitism."
Scholz: Anyone who condones murder and manslaughter is committing a criminal offense
There should be no tolerance for anti-Semites. The security authorities would enforce this with all the rigor, the Chancellor emphasized. "Anyone who glorifies the crimes of Hamas or uses its symbols is committing a criminal offense in Germany. Anyone who condones murder and manslaughter or calls for crimes is committing a criminal offense. Anyone who burns Israeli flags is committing a criminal offense. Anyone who supports a terrorist organization like Hamas is committing a criminal offense. he is committing a criminal offense."
The federal and state law enforcement authorities would hold anyone who does something like this accountable - using every means available under the rule of law. “These means expressly include bans on associations and activities,” said Scholz. "Our association law is a sharp sword. And we will draw this sword here as a strong constitutional state."
According to estimates by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Germany, there are around 450 people behind Hamas, many of whom are German citizens. There is no official branch of the Islamist group in this country. Associations that were close to the movement were banned a few years ago.
The only possible additional measure is the activity ban announced by Scholz, which is to be issued by the Federal Ministry of the Interior. The federal government took this route in 2020 - at that time the Interior Minister was Horst Seehofer (CSU) - with the pro-Iranian Shiite militia Hezbollah from Lebanon.
What does the ban on activity mean?
The ban on activities is accompanied by a ban on all meetings of the organization, as a spokeswoman for the Federal Ministry of the Interior explained upon request. The use of Hamas license plates, which is on the EU list of terrorist organizations and is classified as a foreign terrorist organization in this country, is punishable in Germany. “Western states such as Germany are viewed by Hamas as a retreat area in which the organization concentrates on collecting donations, recruiting new followers and spreading its propaganda,” says the 2022 Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution report.
According to constitutional protection officers, the Samidoun association belongs to the radical Palestinian organization PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) and is hostile to Israel. The PFLP itself propagates the armed struggle against Israel, but, unlike Hamas, is not religious.