Home » Italian Parliament shows political unity on Middle East crisis

Italian Parliament shows political unity on Middle East crisis

The majority allowed the passage of an opposition motion that requests an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip while reiterating support for Israel. It happened after PM Meloni and opposition leader Schlein spoke over the phone, reinforcing Rome’s voice on the matter

A rare show of unity. On Tuesday, the Italian Parliament passed a motion requesting “an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.” It was penned by Elly Schlein, leader of the Democratic Party (PD, the largest opposition force), and the centre-right majority allowed it to pass by abstaining. This unusual coordination happened right after Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni reached out to Ms Schlein over the phone.

Moving with the world. The coordinated move bolsters Italy’s foreign policy position on one of the most pressing international dossiers, i.e. Israel’s ongoing military efforts against Hamas in the Gaza Strip and its high toll on the civilian population. Similar to what’s happening in other Western capitals, including London and Washington, political leaders in Rome have shifted their tone towards the Israeli government.

  • Italy is urging Israel to contain Palestinian civilian casualties with increased harshness, and condemning its decision to expand the ground invasion to Rafah.
  • Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani has been maintaining for weeks that civilians that have “nothing to do with Hamas” are paying “too high a price.” On Wednesday, he outright stated that Israel is “making a mistake” and its offensive is provoking “too many deaths.”

Looking inwards, the agreement between the two leaders consolidates the current factions in Parliament: PM Meloni’s proactiveness in calling Ms Schlein entails her acknowledgement of the latter as the leader of the opposition – and her opposite alignment – ahead of the European Union elections in June.

  • By contrast, Giuseppe Conte’s Five Star Movement (M5S) remains singled out. That jibes with the fact that deep rifts on foreign policy – including on Italy’s support to Ukraine – are preventing it from forming an electoral alliance with the PD.
    • The two opposition parties have been clashing over a range of national issues as well. The M5S’ manoeuvers to replace the PD and capture parts of its electorate have been souring Dem politicians over the past months.

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