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Sunday, July 21, 2024

You’re either with us or Hamas – Israel

There can be no neutrality regarding the Middle East conflict, a spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry has claimed

Nations that have failed to support Israel’s response to the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7 are on the side of the militant group in the conflict, the Israeli Foreign Ministry has declared. There can be no neutrality regarding the conflict, a ministry spokesman has inisisted.

Speaking at a virtual media briefing on Friday, Lior Hayat described Israel’s intention to obliterate Hamas as an existential goal. The group’s leadership, he claimed, is planning “another October 7 massacre, and another one after that, and another one after that.”

Read more: A group of Israeli youth refusing to serve in army oppose bombing of Gaza, occupation of Palestine

Hayat said Israel had received “unprecedented international support” after the attack, because “no one could see those atrocities and not understand what we are dealing with.”

“I want to send a very clear message to the international community. If you do not condemn Hamas, if you do not [support] Israel’s right to self-defense, you are supporting Hamas.”

On October 7, Hamas fighters breached a security wall erected by Israel around Gaza and raided nearby towns and military bases, killing hundreds of civilians and capturing more than 200 hostages. Israel responded by besieging the Palestinian enclave and subjecting it to weeks of intensive bombardments in preparation for a ground incursion.

Read more: Amnesty calls for Israel-Gaza arms embargo

While the US has pledged its unwavering support for Israel’s actions, many nations have criticized the response as disproportionate. A humanitarian disaster is unfolding in Gaza, after it was virtually cut off from critical supplies and amid a massive bombardment.

This week, Bolivia cut diplomatic ties with Israel in protest against its military tactics in Gaza. Colombia and Chile have recalled their ambassadors to the Jewish state – a move that Israel claimed made them aligned with Iran in “supporting terrorism.” The country has accused Iran, its long-time regional nemesis, of being behind Hamas.

The binary approach that Hayat described resembles the position of the Ukrainian government regarding its own conflict with Russia.

Addressing Israeli MPs last year in an effort to push for the delivery of advanced weapons, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky insisted that Israel can be “a mediator between nations, but not between good and evil.”

The US has been attempting to sway neutral nations to join the Ukrainian side since Kiev’s conflict with Russia escalated in February 2022. However, this effort has been “poisoned” by Washington’s unconditional support for Israel despite mass civilian casualties, prompting some nations to accuse it of hypocrisy.

“They won’t ever listen to us again,” a senior G7 diplomat told the Financial Times last month in relation to the diplomatic effort.