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!