Germany announced a ban on Samidoun, a group that claims to defend Palestinian prisoners, and imposed new bans to eliminate support for the Islamist militant group Hamas, which Berlin already considers a terrorist organization.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced that the government was considering taking measures against the two groups in the days following the October 7 massacres in Israel which left some 1,400 dead.
What do the bans mean?
The ban establishes a legal framework to completely shut down the groups’ activities. This means that anyone who continues to be active in any way for either organization commits a criminal offense.
The decision authorizes authorities to confiscate all of the groups’ assets and bans any internet presence or social media activity on their part.
Hamas was already banned, but the latest measure further bans any activity related to it, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser explained.
“Together with Hamas, I today completely banned the activities of a terrorist organization whose goal is to destroy the State of Israel,” Faeser said in a statement.
Germany’s domestic intelligence agency BfV estimates that some 450 people in the country actively support Hamas, which carried out the massacres in Israel.
Meanwhile, Faeser said Samidoun’s German wing was revealed to be part of an international network that spreads anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic propaganda under the guise of solidarity with Palestinian prisoners.
Samidoun was behind an action in which a group of people distributed pastries on a Berlin street to celebrate the Hamas attack.
“Holding spontaneous ‘joyful celebrations’ here in Germany in response to Hamas’ terrible terrorist attacks against Israel demonstrates in a particularly sickening way Samidoun’s anti-Semitic and inhumane worldview,” Faeser said.
Faeser said Samidoun’s German branch would be dissolved and that would “put an end to these activities in Germany.”
“There is no place for anti-Semitism in Germany and we will fight it with all our strength,” she added.
Praise of the police union
The German police union (GdP) said the ban was useful and had made the legal situation much clearer when it came to cracking down on pro-Hamas activities.
“The protection of Jewish life in Germany is the top priority and that is why we will also fight this terrorist organization in Germany firmly and professionally,” said Jochen Kopelke, national president of the union.
rc/sms (dpa, AP)
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