Jan 15, 2024

“Israel Can Rely on Us in Battling Hamas”, Says Czech President Pavel

Czech President Petr Pavel assured his Israeli counterpart Herzog that his country stands shoulder to shoulder with the Jewish state in its battle to defeat Hamas.

“You can always rely on the Czech Republic,” Pavel told Herzog when the two met at the President’s residence in Jerusalem. He later spoke in a closed-door meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


Discussing the future of Gaza

The two presidents discussed the future of Gaza after the Hamas issue is settled and the need for both military and civilian oversight. They also discussed other issues in the Middle East that are linked to Iran and Russia.

In calling for international support in Israel’s struggle against Hamas, Herzog said, “If we are not here, Europe and the United States will be next, which is why the world should support us.”

He described the war that Hamas is conducting as “cynical and psychological” and defined Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar as “a psychopath who kills people with his own hands.”

On the matter of humanitarian aid to Gaza, Herzog reiterated what he has said to other world leaders and solidarity groups, namely that Israel is in favor of additional assistance, which has already been increased from a few dozen trucks a day to more than 200. “We can easily get to 400,” said Herzog, but underscored that this can be achieved only by doing away with UN and other bureaucracy, which is hampering such a move.

Pavel arrived in Jerusalem just two weeks short of the first anniversary of his election to Czech office.

Noting that the Czech Republic had been the first nation to come to Israel after October 7, Herzog said that for him Pavel’s visit was an emotional one because it demonstrated the integrity of the Czech Republic in what is largely a world of hypocrisy.

Strong ties link Israel and the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic has a long history of support for Israel extending back to the days when it was linked as a single entity to Slovakia and known as Czechoslovakia.

Israel’s seventh president Ezer Weizman, who served in the British Royal Air Force during the Second World War, during Israel’s War of Independence was sent to Czechoslovakia to learn how to fly Messerschmidt planes and to fly one back to the nascent State of Israel.

Czechoslovakia helped with military supplies and was also among the first countries to recognize Israel on May 18, 1948, after having voted at the United Nations General Assembly in November 1947 for the partition of Palestine.

As part of the Soviet Bloc, Czechoslovakia severed relations with Israel in the aftermath of the 1967 Six Days War but was quick to resume relations following the 1989 Velvet Revolution.

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