Elly Schlein stands with Israel. The leader of Italy’s Democratic Party (PD) expressed her “great distress” for Hamas’ aggression against Israel. “Our condemnation of the terrorist attack by Hamas against Israeli civilians, with thousands of missiles and military raids, is clear and firm. I also express on behalf of the entire Democratic Party our solidarity with Israel and deepest sympathy for the victims of this heinous attack,” she said, according to an official party note.
- “The international community must mobilise immediately and intervene to stop this aggression and violent escalation that undermines the prospects for dialogue and brings only death and destruction,” she added.
She reinvigorated her Ukraine stance, too. On Thursday, Ms Schlein oversaw an internal meeting of PD leaders and voiced the party’s line on a series of issues – including Russia’s war of aggression. “We are on Ukraine’s side because it is unacceptable that anyone would think of rewriting the borders with the army,” she said, reiterating that Italy should provide “the necessary support, including military support” (while also explor[ing] a diplomatic intervention”).
- She came across as much stronger in her support to Kyiv, a change of pace compared to the past months – where she had wobbled on some key issues, including using EU funds to produce ammo for Ukraine’s Armed Forces.
- Some of the most influential moderate PD members, namely Lia Quartapelle (formerly responsible for the party’s foreign affairs) and Lorenzo Guerini (former defence minister and current head of Parliament’s Intel Committee), had criticised her back then.
- This time they expressed their satisfaction. PD “is on the right side” in both Ukraine and Israel, Mr Guerini told Repubblica on Monday.
Atlanticist statements. Ms Schlein’s unequivocal words on both Israel and Ukraine indicate that she does not intend to deviate from the party’s long-standing Atlanticist tradition. Meaning she does not look willing to compromise on this position to appease (and reinforce ties with) Giuseppe Conte’s Five Star Movement (M5S), the other major opposition party that’s against arming Ukraine.
- “M5S condemns terrorist attacks but Palestinians have the right to peaceful coexistence” remarked Mr Conte on Monday.
- She also sought to mark the PD’s distance from the left’s most extreme positions on Palestine and Israel, at a time when some leftwing European leaders are struggling to condemn Hamas’ all-out attack on Israeli citizens.