The Czech Republic’s Foreign Minister Martin Stropnický issued a statement on his ministry’s website on Thursday saying that Hamas was solely responsible for the deaths of the Palestinians killed in riots that threatened Israel’s southern border. He also stated that the riots were not instigated by the moving of the US Embassy to Jerusalem.
The statement, titled “Gaza – Telling things As They Really Are” was a powerful defense of Israel.
“We have unequivocally expressed our concern and regret over the loss of human lives. In this context, however, it must be stressed that this concern is not only about the victims of the ongoing violence, but also about its causes, including who initiated it,” Stropnický said.
“No country would reconcile itself to such provocations,” he wrote. “The fact is that Hamas, which is also recognized by the European Union as a terrorist organization…is the only true ruler of the Gaza Strip, and as such is fully responsible for the form and objectives of the violent actions that have occurred on the border between Israel and Gaza in recent weeks.”
The statement was addressing eight weeks of Hamas-led protests in Gaza dubbed “The Great March of Return” that resulted in which more than one hundred Palestinians were killed by IDF troops.
“Hamas does not care about its own people or to improve living conditions in the territory it controlled,” but seeks to draw attention from the world, according to Stropnický. “Things should be said as they really are,” he added.
“Attempts to break through the fence and infiltrate Israel could thus be construed as terrorism,” he stated. “Hamas even admitted that most of those killed were members [of their military group].”
“[It is] plain to see how Hamas was treating Gaza’s populace. Hamas operatives burned the Gazan side of the Kerem Shalom crossing, through which humanitarian assistance is sent to Gaza.”
“It’s also important to note the minute detail that Hamas habitually sends children to the riots’ focal points, so it could blame Israel for their deaths,” he said.
Israel’s Ambassador to the Czech Republic Daniel Meron praised the Foreign Minister’s statement “for uncovering the truth regarding the sources of violence in our region.”
Ambassador Meron said the statement indicated the “special relationship between the two countries and the fact that Israel and the Czech Republic shared values and a common past. Exactly 70 years ago, the Czech Republic assisted Israel in its War of Independence, and is now continuing to assist us in the war on propaganda.”
The conclusions made by Stropnický reflected those made by the US. At a press conference last week, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert refuted claims that the embassy move incited Hamas to violence.
“If Hamas wants to use that as an excuse to rile people up and to encourage violence, that is their choice. It’s an irresponsible choice,” she said. “Israel has a right to defend itself.”
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley placed the blame for the violence on Israel’s southern border firmly on Hamas.
“In recent days, Hamas terrorists, backed by Iran, have incited attacks against Israeli security forces and infrastructure. That is violence that should occupy our attention too,” Haley said during an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. “No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has. In fact, the records of several countries here today suggest they would be much less restrained.”