NEWS Israeli Ambassador to Rome addresses Senate Foreign Affairs Committee
Europe must beware of Turkish and Iranian ambitions. This is what Israel Ambassador to Italy Dror Eydar highlighted in his speech before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, dedicated to “Italian priorities in the framework of the new geopolitical equilibria in the Greater Middle East.”
After a long presentation to illustrate the complex geopolitical situation Israel finds itself in – notably Turkey’s and Iran’s intimidating expansionism – Eydar answered to some senators’ speeches on the topic of planned annexation by Israel of some parts of the West Bank.
On this regard, he stated that “In Israel, there’s broad consensus on any future agreement on the Jordan Valley being our east border. It is a natural geographical barrier: from the Golan Heights to Eastern Galilee, down the Jordan Valley, the Judean Desert and the Arabah, up to Eilat.”
“Also Rabin, in all of the agreements, expected that border to be under Israeli control, because it represents a basic requirement in order to contain Arabic countries’ influence on Israel,” he also added. According to Eydar, control over the area would prevent access by “crowds of terrorist and radical groups desiring to enter Israel, upset the country and slaughter both Israelis and Palestinians.”
The ambassador also declared that speaking of extending Israeli sovereignty over part of the West Bank “would not automatically end negotiations. Even after extending its sovereignty over Golan Heights, the Israeli government continued negotiations with Hafez al-Assad, which luckily failed; otherwise, we would have ended up with a civil war next to Galilee.”
He added, “Europe should be concerned and we already have two experiences to learn from: the Gaza Strip, and Judea and Samaria area. Fifteen years ago, Gaza was put to the test and completely cleared. However, Palestinians were not put off by the conditions the city was left in and, in return, turned abandoned irrigation pipes into rockets against us. Today Gaza is a dictatorial Islamic state, whose inhabitants live of air and terror.” These were Eydar’s words.
“On the contrary, Palestinians in Judea and Samaria are independent, with Israel just in charge of security. It’s true that we protect ourselves from terrorists who are based there, but we also protect Palestinians so that they don’t end up like Gaza. This is one of the most peaceful communities in all of the Middle East, also from an economic point of view. We don’t mean to annex those large territories, because Israel is not on the verge of a demographic crisis. Let them lead their own lives, with their own institutions. They may call it independence or a state. They are free to call it whatever they like.” Moreover, the ambassador insisted on the fact that Israel learnt its lesson and that would not entrust foreign hands with its safety.
Translated by Mattia Stefani and revised by Claudia Azzalini, both students at the Advanced School of Modern Languages for Interpreting and Translation of Trieste University and interns at the newspaper office of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities.