Israel expects Croatia and all free countries to "define Hamas a terrorist organisation," Israeli Ambassador to Croatia Gary Koren told Hina on Monday.
Hamas on Saturday suddenly attacked Israel, which responded by striking targets in Gaza. The number of the dead and wounded is rising on both sides.
The EU and the US already consider Hamas a terrorist organisation, and Israel expects the same “from all free world countries,” democracies, including Croatia, Koren said.
That would be an expression of solidarity and support for Israel’s right to self-defence and that would mean calling things by their name, he said, adding that “militants” is a “neutral term”.
“It’s not just a bunch of militants with Kalashnikovs, it’s a… relatively powerful military that (has been) supported by Iran for almost a decade, financially and (with) weaponry,” Koren said.
Shia militias in Iraq, Houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Palestinian and Sunni terrorist organisations “are paid and provided with weaponry and are doing the dirty job for Iran,” Koren said.
“Iran works globally” and “operates” in Europe and the United States, he added. “Everyone should be vigilant, including in Croatia.”
Israel’s “task”, Koren said, is “to destruct Hamas’ military infrastructure, to destruct its future capacity to wage war… but also administrative capacity.”
“We are looking to eradicate these murderers,” he added.
There are about two million people in the Gaza Strip, mainly Palestinians.
“Will it be inhuman to stop the supply of water and electricity? Maybe, but what kind of choice (do) we have?” Koren said.
Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant has announced a “total” blockade of Gaza and that there is no electricity, water and gas.
“We don’t want to punish the civilian population,” Koren told Hina, but added that the population elected Hamas in the first Palestinian parliamentary election in 2006. “Unfortunately, (they) brought it upon themselves.”
Koren said there was great fear of Hezbollah’s potential involvement in the north, on the border with Lebanon. “The northern front might be even more challenging for us because Hezbollah is a few times stronger than Hamas… has much more sophisticated weaponry, on the level of European armies, I’m speaking about… precise missiles.”
Assistance from the United States is coming to Israeli Prime Minister Benjaminu Netanyahu. The US has sent a number of battle ships and aircraft closer to Israel as a sign of support and President Joe Biden has announced that the US will provide Israel with ammunition.
“The US is and was our greatest strategic ally,” Koren said.
Israel has been evacuating the population of the Israeli zones around Gaza, where efforts are also being made to free about 100 hostages. Other countries, too, are trying to repatriate their citizens from the war zone.
Koren said it would be “helpful” of flights to Israel continued in order to evacuate foreigners as well as bring back the Israelis who want to help in the response to the Hamas offensive.
The Croatian and Israeli foreign ministries and embassies are closely cooperating, he said, “to find ways to evacuate Croatians who would like to go home… and the same goes for… almost 300 Israelis who are staying now in Croatia… the majority of them would like to go home to fight.”