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24 Feb, 2024 19:00

Italy blames Russia for Gaza war

Hamas would never have dared to attack Israel had Moscow not launched its operation against Ukraine, Giorgia Meloni has said
Italy blames Russia for Gaza war

Moscow bears responsibility for the conflict between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni claimed in an interview with il Giornale newspaper published on Saturday. It was Russia’s military campaign against Ukraine that supposedly encouraged Hamas to launch a massive attack against Israel on October 7, 2023, she stated.

The Italian leader maintained that a military operation launched by a permanent UN Security Council member against its neighbor violated international law and shook the entire global security system. She said such a move would have inevitably “have [a] cascading effect on the other regions… of the world, from the Middle East to [the] Balkans, to Africa.”

“If Russia had not invaded Ukraine, in all likelihood, Hamas would not have launched such an attack against Israel,” she claimed.

Russia launched its special military operation against Ukraine on February 24, 2022, citing a need to protect the population of Donbass, which had been suffering from constant persecution by Kiev since 2014, when Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics declared their independence from Ukraine.

Moscow also cited other reasons for the decision, including Ukraine’s NATO aspirations, which it said posed a serious threat to Russian national security.

Hamas launched its attacks on Israeli settlements located not far from Gaza almost a year and a half after the start of the conflict between Moscow and Kiev. The assault by the militants claimed the lives of some 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians. More than 200 people were also taken hostage at that time. West Jerusalem responded with a massive bombing campaign against Gaza that was followed by a ground operation that is still ongoing. Since the start of the Israeli campaign, the death toll in the Palestinian enclave has surpassed 29,000, according to reports.

Israel’s actions drew widespread condemnation in the Muslim world and beyond. South Africa filed a complaint with the International Court of Justice, asking it to rule on whether Israel has committed “systematic” acts of genocide in Gaza. The judges have yet to make a decision, but they issued an interim order urging Israel to take steps to prevent genocide. The Israeli government has dismissed that as “absurd.”

In her interview on Saturday, Meloni insisted that “if international legality is not re-established in Ukraine… conflict will continue to multiply.” At the same time, she insisted that the only way to end the fighting was to continue supporting Kiev. The Italian leader said she believed that Moscow only understood the language of strength.

A “just and lasting peace” could only be achieved if “Italy, Europe and the West continue to help Ukraine,” Meloni stated, adding that the standoff between Moscow and Kiev “concerned” all Western nations “not only from a human point of view, but even more so from a geopolitical and security point of view.”

Meloni’s words drew strong condemnation from former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who now serves as deputy head of the Russian Security Council. He branded her a “dumbhead,” adding that she apparently had “some really big problems” with her mind or that the “genes of [her] fascist past” were expressing themselves.

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