Austria has flown the Israeli flag on some official buildings as a sign of “solidarity” in the face of “attacks” directed “from the Gaza Strip” by “Hamas and other terrorist groups”. Turkey is offended by this initiative.
On May 14, Austria hoisted the Israeli flag on certain official buildings in “solidarity”. “I strongly condemn the attacks against Israel from the Gaza Strip,” Conservative Chancellor Sebastian Kurz wrote in a statement sent to AFP.
“Israel has the right to defend itself against these attacks. To show our full solidarity […], we hoisted the Israeli flag ”on the premises of the Chancellery and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he added. He also tweeted to this effect with a photo to back it up.
Heute wurde als Zeichen der Solidarität mit #Israel die israelische Flagge am Dach des Bundeskanzleramtes gehisst. Die terroristischen Angriffe auf Israel sind auf das Schärfste zu verurteilen! Gemeinsam stehen wir an der Seite Israels. pic.twitter.com/FR42K3iA4z
– Sebastian Kurz (@sebastiankurz) May 14, 2021
“Nothing justifies the more than a thousand rockets fired so far at Israel from Gaza by Hamas and other terrorist groups and we strongly support Israel’s security,” Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said.
FM #Schallenberg: „In the face of relentless rocket attacks on #Israel, we stand in solidarity with our Israeli partners. That is why we raised the 🇮🇱 flag at the MFA in Vienna today. Our support for Israel’s security is unwavering. “ pic.twitter.com/TpUTYO2kSC
– MFA Austria (@MFA_Austria) May 14, 2021
Turkey, a country which vigorously defends the Palestinian cause and whose relations with Austria have been strained for several years, sharply criticized Vienna’s gesture of support for Israel.
Hoisting the Israeli flag “is not moral, it is not human. As long as you behave in this way, Israel will fearlessly continue its attacks, ”Turkish presidency spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Twitter.
Austrian PM has Israeli flag hoisted on top of Austrian Prime Ministry to support Israel.
This is what encourages Israel to continue its attacks on Palestinian people. I hope those Austrians and Europeans with a sense of reason and morality will reject this disgraceful politics. https://t.co/u2Uvfgr18A
– Ibrahim Kalin (@ ikalin1) May 14, 2021
In addition, the Austrian public prosecutor’s office opened an investigation after making anti-Semitic comments during a demonstration in support of the Palestinians on May 12 in Vienna. In 2000, Israel recalled its ambassador to Austria to protest against the entry into the FPÖ government. This nationalist party, founded by former Nazis, has at times been splashed with scandals linked to anti-Semitism. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were not normalized until three years later.
When he took over as head of a new coalition government with the FPÖ in December 2017, Sebastian Kurz made strengthening ties with Israel one of his foreign policy priorities, but Israel refused all contact with the appointed ministers. by the FPÖ in May 2019 and since returned to the opposition.
Austria, a neutral member of the European Union, is now ruled by an alliance between the Conservatives and the Greens. Last March, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin paid an official visit to Vienna.
The Austrian capital is home to one of the headquarters of the United Nations and is currently hosting international negotiations to resuscitate the Iran nuclear deal.
In the United States, the Republicans on May 13 called on President Joe Biden to stop these discussions, citing a link between Iran and the rocket fire from Hamas.
Since May 10, the start of this new cycle of violence in the Middle East, 119 Palestinians, including 31 children, have been killed in the Gaza Strip, according to a latest report from the local health ministry.
In Israel, where the “Iron Dome” missile shield intercepted about 90% of the nearly 1,800 rockets fired this week from Gaza, the death toll has risen to eight.