Rome, July 1st, 2011 – Political leaders from the Italian Senate, together with representatives from civil society and faith communities, gathered in the Italian Senate Building on Thursday to express their support for Israel as current threats develop. These include a new Gaza flotilla, a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state in September and other forms of delegitimization of the Jewish State.
Former president of the Italian Senate, Marcello Pera, expressed the Italian sentiment well when he stated that ”our Western democracies will not prevail unless we re-embrace our Judeo-Christian heritage.” He said that ”our support for Israel should not be based on guilt, but rather on pride in our common roots and values.”
– “Defending Israel simply means defending our values and our way of life,” he concluded.
Pera was the first person to sign an open letter to the United Nations written by the ECI, which asks the Secretary General to use his powers to prevent a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian State at the UN General Assembly in September and instead to promote direct negotiations between the Israeli Government and the Palestinians. Earlier in the week the open letter was also signed by the Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, MEP Gabriele Albertini, indicating that there is strong opposition to the current official EU policy, which according to most observers, is regarded as biased and pro-Palestinian.
In his keynote speech, Dr Jacques Gauthier presented the conflicting legal claims to Jerusalem which, according to his research – spanning some 25 years – belongs to the Jews. In his speech he pointed out the critical role played by the Government of Italy after the First World War in paving the way for the birth of the Jewish State. Italy was one of the members of the Supreme Council of the Allied Powers which hosted the historical San Remo Conference in April, 1920, which incorporated the legal rights of the Jewish people to the land of Israel into international law. Italy is today one of only a few EU-member states that has clearly stated that it will oppose a unilateral declaration at the UN in September.
The symposium was organized by European Coalition for Israel and Christians for Israel in partnership with Italian senator Lucio Malan, and was part of an on- going information campaign concerning Israel’s legal rights, in preparation for the UN General Assembly vote in September.
MEP Magdi Cristiano Allam noted in his speech that ”a Palestinian state was proclaimed at the UN once before in the eighties, but with very little effect.”
– ”Proclamations do not change the realities on the ground,” he said, and urged the EU-member states not to vote for Palestinian statehood at this time.
Conference host Malan asked those attending the conference ”to defend Israel unless we want to give up our roots, our freedom and our democracy.”
Previous ECI conferences about Israel’s legal rights have been held in The Hague, Brussels and Berlin.