Photo: Israeli Defence Forces (archive)

Szijjarto: Hungary wants to see Europe recognise Israel’s right to protect itself

The Hungarian government stands with Israel and "we really want to see Europe standing up and recognising the right of Israel to protect itself," Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post published on Friday.
27. January 2024 6:08

“Unfortunately, my experience is that when the issue of the conflict here is being discussed in the international political arena, somehow [people have] forgotten how it started,” Szijjarto said.

He noted that nearly four months have passed since the start of the Gaza war, which “is a long period of time, but it should not be long enough to make all of us forget” the Hamas massacre on October 7, the minister said.

Hungary considers the Israeli army’s military campaign against Hamas “an anti-terror operation,” whose success is in the interest of not just Israel, but the entire world, so that such an attack is not repeated anywhere in the world, he said.

Hungary, he said, was therefore one of the countries that have objected to South Africa’s petition to the International Court of Justice at The Hague, accusing Israel of genocide in the Gaza Strip, Szijjarto said. He said the accusation of genocide was “nonsense”, adding that Hungary stood by Israel against any “unbalanced and unfair” international action.

He said Hungary was directly affected by Hamas’s October 7 attack, as four dual Hungarian-Israeli citizens were among those taken hostage that morning, and another one died in the attack. Three of them have since been released, but a father of two is still being held in Gaza, he added.

Szijjarto said he had spoken with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian as well as Qatari diplomats in the interest of securing the release of the hostages. “I think it is not only a political but a moral obligation of the entire international community to make sure that we put enough pressure on Hamas to release all the hostages, unconditionally and immediately,” he said.

Meanwhile, Szijjarto said Hungary was among the countries that oppose EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell’s proposed resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He said “it would be great if Europe could contribute to making peace in the region, in case the stakeholders here find it necessary.”

But EU-Israel ties should not be contingent on a two-state solution, he said, arguing that Israel is only one party in the conflict which it cannot resolve on its own.

The full article is available here.

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