German, Czech, Slovakian Foreign Ministers Visit Israel to Express Support for Jewish State’s Right to Self-Defense
The foreign ministers of Germany, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia arrived in Israel on Thursday and expressed their support for Israel’s right to defend itself against the rocket barrage fired by the Hamas terrorist organization as Operation Guardian of the Walls enters its eleventh day.
The European ministers visited buildings in Israel that took a direct hit from rockets launched by Hamas from the Gaza Strip and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, and President Reuven Rivlin.
“I am quite speechless having witnessed first-hand the sheer destruction and terror Israel is facing. I wish this reign of terror ends soon,” said Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhanek after touring a building in Petah Tikva that was hit by rocket fire. “Israel has every right to defend itself.”
“In these trying times, Israel, more than ever, needs to be reminded that it has friends in the world. I am proud that the Czech Republic is the staunchest supporter of Israel in Europe since 1948,” Kulhanek stated.
In a meeting with Netanyahu, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas emphasized that Israel has the right to defend itself against the “massive and unacceptable attacks,” adding that the Jewish nation’s “security and that of the Jewish residents here are not negotiable.”
During the meeting, Netanyahu unveiled to Maas an Iranian UAV that had been downed in the Beit Shean area as evidence that “the true backer of much of this aggression is Iran.”
“While we were engaged in these hostilities a few days ago, Iran sent an armed drone from Iraq or Syria, which our forces intercepted on the border between Israel and Jordan, and that I think says everything on the true patron of terror in the Middle East and in the world: Iran,” Netanyahu said. “Iran not only supports completely the Islamic Jihad in Gaza, and gives them all the finance, they also give weapons to Hamas as well as to Hezbollah and they provide the scaffolding on which these organizations really work.”
Ending a meeting with Maas, Gantz said that the two agreed on a “mutual goal of weakening extremist elements and strengthening moderate forces in Gaza and beyond to the end of securing long-term peace and stability in our region.”
During the visit, Slovakian Foreign Minister Ivan Korcok said that his country “recognizes that Israel has no other option but to protect itself against attacks by Hamas.”
“This must be stopped. We want to convey sorrow and feeling of sympathy with the victims of violence on both sides because human life has the same value no matter where it is lost,” Korcok added.
Earlier this week, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendios visited Israel, which marked the first time a European leader visited the country since the start of the fighting with Hamas. Dendios met with his Israeli counterpart Ashkenazi.
“An immediate ceasefire is needed, as well as the protection of human rights and the safeguarding of human lives. I condemned in the clearest way the firing of thousands of rockets by Hamas against Israel. It is an action absolutely and totally condemnable,” Dendios stated.
Following his Israel visit, Dendios met with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh in Ramallah, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Cairo, and his Jordanian counterpart in Amman to discuss developments for an end to the violence.