German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier demanded that people with Palestinian and Arab roots living in Germany to distance themselves from the Islamist militant group Hamas during a roundtable discussion on Wednesday, writes German news agency DPA.
“Do not allow yourselves to be instrumentalized by Hamas’ accomplices,” he said during the meeting, which he hosted at his official residence in Berlin. “Speak for yourselves. Give the terror a clear rejection.”
The Palestinian community in Germany should have space to publicly express their pain and despair over the civilian victims of Israeli strikes on Gaza, he said.
“The right to do this publicly and peacefully is guaranteed by our constitution – and this right is not in question,” said Steinmeier. “But terrorism, incitement to hatred and calls for the destruction of the state of Israel are not part of this guarantee, and I expect us to stand together against this.”
Pro-Palestinian demonstrations in German cities have caused extensive public controversy since the bloody October 7 attacks on Israel carried out by Hamas. Authorities have cited incidents of anti-Semitism and expressions of support for Hamas to limit or ban some gatherings.
Some politicians have urged even greater crackdowns.