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This week, Chairman of the National Defence Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) Kalev Stoicescu, member of the National Defence Committee Meelis Kiili and Chairman of the Estonia-Israel Parliamentary Friendship Group Eerik-Niiles Kross visited Israel, where they confirmed the desire to strengthen relations with Israel.

The representatives of the Riigikogu were in Israel from Sunday to Thursday as part of an international delegation that also included representatives of Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, France and the United States. The delegation met with members of the Parliament of Israel, as well as high-level representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Security Council, who gave the delegation an overview of the circumstances surrounding Hamas attack on 7 October last year, and the aims and prospects of Israel’s military operation.

Stoicescu said that the representatives of Estonia and other Baltic States raised issues relating to Russia’s aggression at the meetings, and drew parallels between terrorist Hamas and Putin’s Russia. “Israel has not provided lethal aid to Ukraine so far, but this may change,” the Chairman of the National Defence Committee pointed out.

According to Stoicescu, the representatives of Estonia also drew the attention of the hosts to Russia’s aggressive propaganda channels that are broadcast freely in Israel and the transmission of which is restricted or banned in Europe. “The representatives of the Baltic States and Israel agreed upon the need to have closer mutual contacts in the future to exchange information and discuss the situation,” he said.

The delegation visited Erez Crossing, the border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel that was first attacked by Hamas on the morning of 7 October, as well as Kfar Aza kibbutz and the Nova music festival area, where hundreds of people were murdered and raped. “During Israel’s military operation, a large number of civilians in the Gaza Strip have been injured and killed, and many Western allies have called on Israel to minimise the number of civilian casualties as much as possible, considering the specific nature of the operation, i.e. the hiding of Hamas members among the civilian population,” Stoicescu said.

Stoicescu also pointed out that it should not be overlooked that support for Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank was very high, over 60 and 80 percent respectively, according to polls. “The Palestinians must understand that Hamas is not made up of freedom fighters, but of brutal terrorists whose aim is not a normally functioning state of Palestine, but killing people, to be precise, Jews,” Stoicescu said. He added that the Palestinians had a right to their own state, but not to a terrorist formation.

The international delegation also visited the production facilities of Israel’s space industry, which produce top level drones, aircraft, missile systems, space rockets and satellites.

The visit was organised by European Leadership Network that promotes the relations between Europa and Israel.

Riigikogu Press Service
Karin Kangro
+372 631 6356, +372 520 0323
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