The West German State Bans a Pro-Palestine Group and Searches Four Properties - Latest Global News

The West German State Bans a Pro-Palestine Group and Searches Four Properties

Security forces searched four properties in the western German city of Duisburg on Thursday morning as part of a raid on a local group accused of supporting the Palestinian militant organization Hamas.

In the run-up to the raid, the North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of the Interior officially banned the Palestine Solidarity Duisburg organization.

“A red line has been crossed,” said the country’s Interior Minister, Herbert Reul. “We have confiscated all of the organization’s assets.”

According to dpa sources, the raid targeted four properties belonging to the group’s leaders, including apartments in several apartment blocks. More than 50 officers took part in the operation. They reportedly confiscated boxes of documents, as well as computers, cell phones and cash.

The ban on the organization was reportedly ordered by the North Rhine-Westphalia State Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

According to the ministry, Palestine Solidarity Duisburg is a pro-Palestinian organization that has expressed solidarity with the Palestinian resistance in all its forms, including Hamas’s armed struggle against Israel.

It also maintains contacts with other pro-Palestinian organizations, including Samidoun, which was banned in Germany in November.

The group’s ideological orientation is “characterized by an anti-Israel and anti-Semitic worldview,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The Palestine Solidarity Duisburg continually incites against the state of Israel and holds it solely responsible for the Middle East conflict,” the statement said. “In doing so, it spreads hatred and violence in the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians and, last but not least, endangers the life and limb of Israelis and Jews living in Germany.”

As part of the ban, the group’s assets were seized and its online presence and social media activities were restricted.

There has been a global rise in anti-Semitic discrimination and fears for the safety of Jews in Germany since Hamas’ deadly October 7 attacks on Israel that sparked the war in Gaza.

At the beginning of November, the federal government issued a ban on all activities of Hamas, which has already been classified as a terrorist organization by the European Union. The move made it easier for police to intervene at rallies in support of Palestinians.

The German domestic secret service estimates the number of Hamas activists living in the country at 450. So far, their activities have been limited to spreading propaganda and collecting donations.

Germany is one of Israel’s strongest allies, and political leaders in Berlin have repeatedly said after the Oct. 7 attacks that Israel has a right to self-defense.

Domestically, authorities moved quickly to crack down on pro-Palestinian protests, citing fears of anti-Semitism. Critics said the current climate had led to a suppression of pro-Palestinian voices.

North Rhine-Westphalia's Interior Minister Herbert Reul (r.) speaks in the state parliament about a raid against a Hamas support group in Duisburg.  The police and the Interior Ministry have taken action against the group Palestine Solidarity Duisburg for allegedly supporting Hamas.  Oliver Berg/dpa

North Rhine-Westphalia’s Interior Minister Herbert Reul (r.) speaks in the state parliament about a raid against a Hamas support group in Duisburg. The police and the Interior Ministry have taken action against the group Palestine Solidarity Duisburg for allegedly supporting Hamas. Oliver Berg/dpa

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