The Italian Defence’s take on the crisis. “We must work together to avoid escalation. The Italian government and Defense stand by the people of Israel, and I reiterate our full solidarity for the attacks suffered and our closeness to the families of the victims and the wounded. I hope that we will be able to find a channel to free the hundreds of innocent hostages kidnapped by the terrorists thanks to the international community’s effort.”
- That’s what Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto said after taking part in talks with his NATO homologues, plus Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and the EU’s foreign affairs czar Josep Borrell, in Brussels.
Standing by Israel. In his statement, Minister Crosetto reiterated the country’s right to defend itself and the legitimacy of its reaction – which he described as “securing its future”. Noting that coexistence with Hamas is now “probably impossible,” he stressed that Rome remains committed to preventing further escalation and ensuring that the conflict does not involve innocent civilians.
- Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant provided his NATO homologues with images highlighting Hamas’ violence against civilians, including “infants, old women, young women. Even war has rules, even in its tragedy: when you go beyond them, you go beyond what is human,” said Minister Crosetto.
Mind the South. The Israel-Hamas conflict “demonstrates the importance and fragility of [NATO] Southern Flank and how necessary it is, now more than ever, to have a strong and cohesive all-round Alliance. We are deeply concerned about the possible extension of the conflict in the Middle East and the risk of a new season of terrorist attacks,” continued the Italian minister, stressing that instability in the area “has repercussions for the security of the entire Euro-Atlantic area.”
- This means that NATO must have forces along its Southern border “with adequate responsiveness and capacity, to be deployed in case of need – just as happened on the Eastern Flank, where Italy is participating actively.”
- Additionally, he said, investments in security and defence are increasingly necessary in the face of the growing elements of destabilisation. “We see the situation in the Balkans and what is happening in the Middle East. We have to equip ourselves to deal with situations that we were not used to or that we thought we would no longer find on our way.”
Speaking of the Eastern Flank… During a presser, Minister Crosetto also touched on Italy’s eight weapons package for Ukraine, noting the government was in active discussions. “The Western world has become used to the war that Ukraine is fighting. But Ukrainians,” who are enduring constant attacks, “cannot and will not get used to it” and are “rightly continuing to defend themselves.”
- Rome remains committed to aiding them in this war of survival, he stressed. “Italy has helped up to now, within the limits of its possibilities, and will continue to do so.”