Create peace instead of extending UNIFIL!

Kathrin Vogler's speech in the Bundestag on May 17, 2019

UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) is an "interim" operation that has now lasted 40 years and in which the German Federal Armed Forces - Bundeswehr - has been involved for almost 13 years. The UN force is operating in Lebanon in a highly explosive internal and external conflict situation that can not be solved by military means. DIE LINKE therefore rejects an extension of the Bundeswehr mandate UNIFIL. For the fact what Lebanon really needs is reconciliation and dialogue, peacebuilding and social justice.

(The spoken word shall prevail)

Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen,

almost 40 years ago, the United Nations deployed the "United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon". As the name implies, it should be a "interim solution", but there's no mention of that at all anymore. In fact, as the federal Government itself writes, in 40 years it has not been possible to achieve the mission's goals. I think you should have the courage to question the approach behind the mission.

Currently, about 130 German soldiers are deployed in command staffs and as part of the maritime UNIFIL component. The whole thing should cost 28.7 million Euros in the next 12 months.

On the other hand a ridiculous amount of 1.9 million Euros were estimated over the same period for dialogue and reconciliation; and it even includes the maintenance of the Lebanon Special Court in The Hague ...

Ladies and gentlemen of the Federal Government, this is completely unacceptable, because what Lebanon really needs in 2019 is not armament, but reconciliation and dialogue, peacebuilding and social justice. If you would spent 30 million Euros on that, you would have the full support of the left-wing fraction.

During my visit to Lebanon with the parliamentary group two weeks ago, we have heard in particular again  and again that there are three main concerns:

First, there are approximately 5 million Syrian refugees, who will not be able to return to their homeland for the foreseeable future. They will not be able to settle in Lebanon either. Over half of these people live in absolute poverty. Only 19 percent receive low financial support from the UN refugee agency, and only one in two children after primary school age can attend school.

Secondly, the economic and financial crisis, which has to do with home-made deficits on the one hand, but also with the war in Syria and with the aggressive destabilization policy of the Gulf States, especially Saudi Arabia.

And thirdly, the fierce Middle East policy of a Donald Trump, who supports Israel's illegal occupation policy in the Palestinian territories and the Golan and now threatens Iran with war.

This conflict situation provides plenty of fuel for crises and conflicts, also because the Lebanese government gets put under pressure by the IMF  (International Monetary Fund) and the World Bank and wants to rehabilitate the ailing finances with a sharp austerity policy.

And the question who must serve as a scapegoat if the population feels these measures with full severity is still completely open: The Syrians? The Palestinians? Or Israel, with whom the country has still not signed a peace treaty?

What would the Bundeswehr do to secure the border the next time when Israeli soldiers cross the border to fight Hezballah positions on Lebanese territory?

Especially against the background of our history it is unimaginable that German soldiers fight against Israelis with a weapon in their hands. This is another reason why my party rejected the participation of the Bundeswehr in this mission from the outset, and we will continue to do so! 

In the Beginning of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Conference in New York (from 29 April to 10 May 2019)

Kathrin Vogler (MP, DIE LINKE.), Press Release of April 29, 2019

"The preparatory conference this year will  take place in a time of dramatic international tensions. The last pillars of the nuclear arms control regime threatened to collapse by irresponsible action of the US government and NATO," said Kathrin Vogler, peace spokeswoman for DIE LINKE. in the German Bundestag. "The Federal Government is actively involved in the policy of nuclear armament, in contrast to its public declerations, therefore goes its involvment beyond supporting the modernization of the US nuclear bombs in Europe and especially in the Rhineland-Palatinate Büchel, through its adherence to the so-called nuclear participation and through the constant,  more intense discussion about a 'European nuclear bomb'."

Kathrin Vogler continues: "Even the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) turend out to be a growing danger as well as ambiguous.  It is a double standards Contract, that allowes some to have nuclear weapons, where others don’t. Furthermore, the contract is based on the promise of disarming nuclear arsenals by the Nuclear weapons states , which they eventually are not doing, but even this treaty is now threatened, and if it collapses, then there is a threat of uninhibited proliferation of nuclear weapons as well as an uninhibited nuclear arms race.

 Instead and what is really needed is an international impulse for disarmament. However, this will only be effective if it is not based on words such as the policy of Foreign Minister Maas, but on actions: The Federal Government must declare against the modernization of American nuclear bombs and committed to maintaining the INF (Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces) contract. As a credible sign of its commitment to nuclear disarmament, the German government should sign the nuclear weapons prohibition contract and stop the procurement plans for new atomic bombs for the Federal Armed Forces. In addition, the federal government must influence Israel regarding the agreed conference to materialize a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East . The world is at a crossroads more than in the 1980s: either an atomic catastrophe or a world free of nuclear weapons.


German Weapons in the Yemen War

Houthi Rebels in Yemen have posted a video featuring a German reconnaissance drone that was shot down in northern Yemen, according to a Houthi Rebels spokesman. The aircraft of the "Luna" series is a product of bavarian Penzberg-based company EMT, "system provider for Unmanned Aircraft Systems", which has been producing military air reconnaissance and surveillance technology for 40 years as well as for the war in Yemen. 

Over 56,000 civilians have already died in this war (that is 3.5 times the population of Penzberg) and 20 million people are starving. To fuel this war, politically or militarily, is a crime. The arms exports to Saudi Arabia must be stopped, and the agreement of stopping the arms exports must also be extended beyond March 9 and to all states involved in the war. Arms exports are considered murder!

Links to more information:

* The Videofile released by Houthi Rebels
Report München
Der Stern

Overcoming the Hatred

On Thursday, November 22, Kathrin Vogler met with several faction colleagues and members of parliament from the SPD for an expert discussion with activists of the Israeli-Palestinian peace organization "Combatants for Peace" (CfP). The organization was established in 2006 by former Israeli soldiers and Palestinian resistance fighters and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018. In "Combatants for Peace", Jews, Christians and Muslims who are committed to the principles of nonviolence and humanity are committed to solidarity and partnership between Israeli and Palestinian people.   

Combatants for Peace - There is an another way

Tuly Flint (on the picture at the right side of the table, second from left), was born in 1967 and he was a commander of israel’s army in his last position. He left the army in the last War in Gaza, then he studied socialwork specialized in Trauma work. He joined the CfP in Tel Aviv and is now coordinator of the organization in Israel. Mohammed Aweida, born in 1971 (left beside Tuly), employed as social worker by the city administration in East Jerusalem and was active in Palestinian’s resistance during the two Intifadas. He has been involved with the Combatants for Peace for 12 years and is the coordinator of the organization in Palestine. 

Overcoming distance  

The CfP are organized in core groups of about 30 assets and can be found in all major cities in Israel / Palestine; There is also a women's and a theater group. The latter for example performs street theatre directly at the checkpoints. The individual divisions often work in Israeli-Palestinian town twinning and can activate up to 1,500 local supporters and up to 10,000 supporters nationwide. Each of these groups works independently, and organizes its Projects, demonstrationsas well as protest actions. The activists also help with the reconstruction of schools and kindergartens etc. or they organize visits to the Palestinian territories. In this way, the reality of life of the Palestinian population under the conditions of the occupation should be brought closer to the Israeli people. The commitment of the Combatants for Peace is impressive, especially considering that almost every person in Israel / Palestine has to live with the traumas of war. 

The third Narrative  

Tuly und Mohammed propose to complement the Israeli and Palestinian perspectives, in form of third narrative where each and everyone in the conflict region lives his / her own story with its own memories and perceptions, shaped by the conflict that has lasted for decades: a narrative of peaceful coexistence.