‘We’re not like the Nazis’, Netanyahu says to German foreign minister over Gaza famine disagreement

‘We’re not like the Nazis’, Netanyahu says to German foreign minister over Gaza famine disagreement
Annalena Baerbock was on a visit to Tel Aviv this week when an spat broke out after she told Netanyahu that Israel was "driving Gaza towards famine"
3 min read
20 April, 2024
Prime Minister Netanyahu reportedly tried to brush off the German minister's assertions that Gaza was in famine

The Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbrock reportedly had a spat after the premier rebutted her concern for the humanitarian situation in Gaza and controversially quipped, "We're not like the Nazis".

Baerbock was on a trip to Israel this week to meet with Netanyahu to discuss the ongoing Gaza war and Iran's drone and missile attack on Israel.

An argument between the two erupted when Baerbock told Netanyahu that Israel was "driving Gaza towards famine".

According to media reports, Baerbock was shown footage by Netanyahu of markets with supplies of food in the war-ravaged Strip, as well as images of beaches where Palestinians were sunbathing and swimming.

Baerbock responded by saying that the images did not reflect the true humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, which reportedly sparked a retort from Netanyahu, who said that Israel was "not like the Nazis," who "manufactured reality".

"It’s real. It’s reality. It’s not like what the Nazis staged, we're not like the Nazis who produced fake images of a manufactured reality," Netanyahu is reported to have said.

According to Israeli broadcaster Channel 13, the German foreign minister replied: "Are you saying that our doctors in the field in Gaza aren't telling the truth? Are you saying that the international media is lying?"

Germany said on Friday it complained to Netanyahu's staff after what it described as a "distorted" account of a row between German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and the Israeli prime minister was leaked to the press.

Asked about the report after a G7 foreign ministers' meeting on the Italian island of Capri, Baerbock said that "we are not reporting on confidential discussions".

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"The German ambassador was in contact with the prime minister's staff and made it clear what we think of such distorting publications," she said.

"Regret was expressed to us regarding the publication, whose source is unclear."

Germany's ambassador to Israel Steffen Seibert has said on X, formerly Twitter, that "key points" in the media accounts are "wrong and misleading", but did not specify what was the issue.

The relentless offensive has reduced much of Gaza to rubble, with the United Nations and aid agencies warning the north of the territory has been pushed to the brink of famine.

Despite growing global concerns about the situation in Gaza, Netanyahu this week rejected any claims about famine, insisting Israel is doing "above and beyond" what is needed "on the humanitarian issue," his office said.

Baerbock was visiting Israel to show Germany's support after Iran at the weekend launched an unprecedented drone and missile attack on the country.

Germany has strongly supported Israel since the attacks by Palestinian militant group Hamas on 7 October triggered the war in Gaza.

In April, Nicaragua brought Germany before the International Court of Justice to demand judges impose emergency measures to stop Berlin from providing Israel with weapons and other assistance.

But as the conflict has continued, Berlin has increasingly called for more aid to be sent to the territory as the humanitarian situation worsens.

Israel's offensive has killed at least 34,012 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry.

Agencies contributed to this report