Antonio Tajani addresses Parliament re: Israel. On Tuesday, the Italian Foreign Minister appeared before MPs for an urgent informative session on the conflict between Hamas and Israelis – and what it means for Italy. He began by noting that Rome is “working incessantly” to assist and repatriate the over 18,000 Italians living in Israel, 1,000 of whom are enrolled in the country’s Defence Forces and 10 of whom are currently in the Gaza Strip.
- There are currently “no definite news” of the Italians that were in the conflict zones, he said, including the Italo-Israeli missing couple – identified as Lilach Lea Havron and Eviatar Moshe Kipnis – who lived at the Beheri kibbutz, the scene of a massacre.
Rome’s line. “The government has condemned the attacks on Israel,” recalled FM Tajani, indicating Hamas as “the only culprit for this mad spiral of violence,” which risks “dragging a region already plagued by hostilities into a generalised war. The terrorists who control Gaza have already found a foothold in Hezbollah. Lebanon remains our priority. Of concern is the role of Iran, which has already expressed political support of Hamas’ actions.”
- The majority in Parliament voted a resolution committing the government to act “to prevent funds from reaching Hamas – through institutional channels, international organisations or private individuals – that are used to finance terrorist attacks and incite hatred of Israel.”
- The text also requests the executive to “develop diplomatic action with key regional partners and actors to prevent escalation of the conflict.”
How the opposition reacted. The executive had offered opposition parties to present a single, joint text. However, after hours of infighting and uncertainties, they tabled three different resolutions. To different extents, they differ from the majority’s text on sending aid to Palestinians (a matter that is splitting EU institutions) and supporting Israel’s response.
- Parliament passed all four motions, except a section of one – tabled by the Democratic Party (PD), the Five Star Movement and the Greens-Left Alliance – maintaining that the Israeli-Palestinian peace process has been hampered by the Israeli government’s expansion of settlements as much as Hamas’ unilateral actions.
- Voting with the left and not the centrist might turn out to be a tactical blunder on behalf of PD (which had marked its distance from the 5SM on this issue), as its ambiguity on such key matters risks diminishing its stature and opening up more political space for the current majority to fill.
The government works with allies. Rome is working with European institutions and allied countries, including through the Quint format: on Monday evening, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni took part in a call with her counterparts from the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany and issued a joint statement in support of Israel. On Tuesday, FM Tajani took part in an extraordinary EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting dedicated to the conflict, along with his counterparts from other EU member States, Israel and Palestine.
From MENA to the homeland. The Italian FM is on his way to Egypt, where he’s scheduled to meet with President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. On Tuesday, speaking to Rai 3, he stressed the importance of maintaining dialogue with moderate Arab countries. He said he had contacted his counterparts from Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. “We are talking to all these countries that want stability and can play a new role, especially to rescue the hostages,” he stressed.
- Internally, “we have strengthened security in sensitive places, such as the ghetto in Rome,” explained FM Tajani. Meanwhile, PM Meloni visited the Synagogue in the Eternal City and reiterated the need to “intensify the protection of Jewish citizens” because of the “risk of emulation” of Hamas’ terror attack on Israeli soil.