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Israeli Ambassador Eyal Sela Confirms That His Statement on RTV Was Cut Short

In an interview with Siol, Israeli Ambassador Eyal Sela said that Slovenia and Israel have a good relationship. He has been in office for more than four years now and has also worked with the previous governments. As Sela stated, they have had good relations with all of the previous governments as well, but they are probably the best at the moment. He explained that the Hamas terrorists are also attacking Israeli schools and kindergartens, while in Gaza, Israel is only trying to hit the terrorist infrastructure or buildings that are associated with it, which includes banks that financially support Hamas. Unfortunately, there are also civilian casualties. Hamas itself is also responsible for the casualties among the Palestinians, as a quarter of the missiles they launch do not even reach Israeli territory. He also touched on the extensive interview he gave for the national RTVS broadcasting service, from which only a short excerpt was actually broadcast. He commented on this fact, saying that he would have been happier if they had left the clip longer.  

The Israeli Ambassador for Slovenia, Eyal Sela, was born in Israel in 1965 and is a political scientist. Prior to becoming an ambassador, he worked at the Israeli Foreign Ministry and was a diplomat in Guatemala, the United States, Spain and Ecuador. He also served as a senior adviser to the Israeli Defence Forces. He is a non-resident ambassador to Slovenia and Malta who works from Israel. Sela emphasised that the situation in Israel is not calming down yet. The centre of the country has become more peaceful, but definitely not its south. Residents of cities such as Ashkelon and Ashdod, which are located in a 40-kilometre radius from Gaza, have been bombed daily in recent weeks, SIOL reports.

This situation is nothing new; it has been going on for 20 years now. From time to time, there is a provocation by Hamas, which wants to ignite violence. Hamas always chooses civilians for its targets, not the military. Their list includes kindergartens, buses, cars, schools and synagogues. Various excuses have already been made for the current attacks, but no actual reasons have been provided yet. Namely, Hamas is a terrorist organisation supported by other countries, including Iran, and the number of their missiles far exceeds the number of missiles of many European countries combined. In recent weeks, over three thousand missiles have been launched at Israel. Unlike Hamas, however, Israel is trying to target and hit the terrorist infrastructure only, so they are focusing on the places where the attacks are coming from and the banks that finance this kind of activity. Unfortunately, several civilians also die each time this happens. Palestinian civilian casualties are also caused by Hamas rockets, which fall back to the ground prematurely.

Ambassador Sela believes that Israel is respecting the international commitments and international law, as it is not targeting civilian facilities, but only the infrastructure used by Hamas’s members. The problem is that Hamas is using the so-called human shields. They also used the building where the AP and Al Jazeera media outlets were located. From there, they conducted intelligence activity in order to support the attacks. This kind of abuse of humans as a shield, however, is a crime against humanity, especially because they were informed before the attack that it will happen. Everyone was evacuated, and the Hamas intelligence cell was destroyed. Milan Brglez, Member of the European Parliament from the SD party, wrote on his social media that the “disproportionate use of force is also a crime in self-defence,” to which the Israeli ambassador replied that he would gladly talk to him about this matter in person, as he wants to avoid doing it through the media. However, he believes that Brglez’s position is wrong. Regarding the allegations that Israel occupied Gaza, he reminded everyone of the convention adopted after the end of World War I.

The Palestinians are refusing any direct negotiations between them and the Israelis
The convention determined the future of the area in question. The then-League of Nations (the predecessor of the United Nations) decided that there would be a Jewish state in that particular area. Later came the British mandate, the Holocaust and so on. The UN wanted to divide the territory into the Jewish and the Arab parts. The Jews agreed, but the Arabs did not. Wars followed (in 1948 and 1967) that were started by the Arabs. Israel has been calling for negotiations all along, but this has not led to a solution due to the Palestinians, who have always refused direct negotiations. When the state of Israel was formed, there was no Palestinian state, as their territories were divided between Egypt and Jordan. Direct negotiations are the only way forward, but the Palestinians still reject them. But this is the only alternative to violence.

Regarding the Slovenian media reporting on the events, Sela said that some individuals interpret the events through ideological filters or in accordance with their own view of the world. But Israel wishes the reporting would be more balanced. It seems that the media are paying much more attention to the number of victims on the Palestinian side while neglecting those from the Israeli side. Regarding the censorship of his extensive interview for the public RTVS, he said that what they filmed was rather long; however, only about 30 seconds of it were actually broadcast. That is why he would have liked it better if the clip was longer. According to him, the relations between Israel and Slovenia are good. He has been an ambassador for over four years now, and the relations were also good under the previous governments, but he believes that they are even better at the moment.

Janša’s visit to Israel in December was key for the improvement of the bilateral relations
The ambassador emphasised the importance of Prime Minister Janez Janša’s visit to Israel in December, as Janša was looking for opportunities to deepen these good relations, especially in the fields of cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, digitalisation and innovation. The Port of Koper is also becoming increasingly important for Israel, and they are hoping they can resume the tourist visits in the summer. The last time Sela was in Ljubljana, he visited the Israeli company MGC Pharma, which produces medical cannabis for the pharmaceutical industry. He also visited some other cities in Slovenia, where other companies are based that cooperate with Israeli partners. Sela wishes that the trade between the two countries would become stronger. In principle, the good relations between the two countries are mainly being damaged by a part of Slovenian society. They saw the flowing of the Israeli flag on the government building as a sign of understanding and solidarity, for which they are grateful. The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu singled out the countries, including Slovenia, which have shown solidarity with Israel with such actions.

Domen Mezeg

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