The minister in Brussels for the summit of NATO defense ministers: “Do not superimpose terrorists on the Palestinian people. Whoever wants to leave Gaza must be able to do so”
The images shown by the Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant today to the NATO ministers meeting in Brussels highlight “the violence with which Hamas has decided to act against newborns, elderly women, young women. Even war has, in its dramatic nature , rules: when you overcome them you go beyond what is human. It is normal, therefore, that the reaction of someone who has suffered such a serious wound is strong.” He says it the Minister of Defense Guido Crosettotoday at the meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels.
The message that comes out of the ministerial, explains Crosetto, “could be nothing other than a message of solidarity in the face of a terrorist act of unprecedented violence, carried out by a terrorist organization like Hamas. It must not be superimposed on the Palestinian people: they are two different things. The terrorist organization Hamas is one thing, the Palestinian people are another.”
“We have seen the images that the Israeli Defense Minister showed us – he continues – of unprecedented violence, which is not part of the war, is not part of anything that humanity can accept. The closeness to Israel is total on the part of NATO and of all nations, who cannot help but be horrified by images and violence of this type.” The immediate objective, he continues, is that “there is no escalation, that there are no people who have nothing to do with this clash, who remain in some way, as happened to the settlers, to the Israeli newborns, in the midst of a legitimate reaction on the part of Israel, which felt attacked and must defend itself.”
“Probably coexistence with Hamas, which until now has happened and in some way had not had such devastating effects, is now impossible – adds Crosetto – so now Israel’s reaction is to secure its future. And the future, now, probably includes one very tough clash with Hamas. This could have consequences, but we hope not. Italy will do everything to ensure that the rights of people who have nothing to do with it are respected. I keep Hamas and the Palestinian people very distinct.” And we must avoid triggering “an escalation that affects a very large area compared to what we are focusing our attention on. I think this must be the objective of the entire international community”, he explains.
“Work together to avoid escalation”
“The international scenario – underlined the minister – presents us with critical issues and difficult challenges for everyone. We must work together to avoid escalation. The Italian Government and the Defense are at the side of the people of Israel and I reiterate the full solidarity for the attacks suffered and the closeness to the families of the victims and the injured. I hope that thanks to the effort of the international community we will be able to find a channel to free the hundreds of innocent hostages kidnapped by the terrorists”.
For Crosetto, “the events of these last few days demonstrate the importance and fragility of the Southern Flank and how necessary, today more than ever, a strong and cohesive Alliance is at 360°. We are deeply concerned about the possible extension of the conflict into Middle East and for the risk of a new season of terrorist attacks. The instability in this area, in the countries of North Africa and in the Sahel has in fact repercussions on the security of the entire Euro-Atlantic area. This means that for the South too we must have forces, with adequate reactivity and capacity, to be used in case of need as happened on the Eastern Flank, where Italy is actively participating”.
“It is up to nations that dialogue with Hamas to defuse the situation”
Whether or not there is any negotiating space to free the hostages taken by Hamas in last weekend’s attacks, the minister added, “is not something that NATO can deal with. Some nations that have an easier dialogue with Hamas, it is certainly not NATO or the Western nations that have it. There are nations that have a dialogue: I think it is up to them to try to defuse this dramatic situation.”
Countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia are states with which “we have always talked about economic issues. If we are not ashamed of talking about economic or energy issues, I don’t see why we should be ashamed of talking about humanitarian issues. Indeed, humanitarian issues transcend any difference: it is the moment in which reason must prevail, certainly not ideology”, he explains.
“Whoever wants to leave Gaza must be able to do so”
The “humanitarian corridor” to exit the Gaza Strip, “from what I have heard from the statements of the Israeli government, is open, it has never been closed. From the beginning the possibility of moving away from Gaza was given. We must act in so that people know it in the meantime and then somehow manage to move. The international community must guarantee this: those who want to leave must be able to leave, a corridor must be ensured to exit”, said Crosetto.