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We are fighting for our survival, ambassador tells MPs

palestinians search for casualties at the site of israeli strikes on houses in jabalia refugee camp
The site of Israeli strikes on houses in Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza on Tuesday

Israel is conducting a just war which must be the last, in which Hamas must be eradicated, Israel’s ambassador to Cyprus Oren Anolik told the House foreign affairs committee on Tuesday.

Anolik stressed that Israel suffered a national trauma in the October 7 attacks, which was its worst nightmare come true.

During the one-hour meeting, Anolik handed over and presented to the committee head some footage and photographs of the attacks.

Anolik said that the footage shows Hamas alongside bodies of those killed, in media sent back to family members boasting how ‘look mother, I’ve killed Jews with my bare hands’.

“We are in a war which we have been forced into and we did not choose. We are fighting for our survival, this is the war and we are fighting Hamas – they are controlling Gaza, we are not fighting civilians,” he said.

“If we do not end Hamas then there is no future,” Anolik concluded.

The ambassador said that Israel is doing everything it can to prevent harm to civilians but unfortunately there is no war without victims. He added that civilians have been warned to move to safer areas.

Wading into the recent history of the conflict, Anolik said that there should be a wider realisation of what happened in the decade of 1990 and that the Palestinians gained the West Bank through negotiations.

“Hamas is not promoting the right of Palestinians but a war against Israel. Hamas was an Islamic Palestinian state and does not want to negotiate with Israel,” the ambassador said.

He further stated that Hamas tortured and killed Palestinians who challenged its authority.

Anolik also told the committee that humanitarian aid is being permitted by Israel to enter into Gaza, adding that prior to October 7 it was providing electricity but that Hamas cut the wires since the attack.

As to whether Gaza is under siege, the ambassador queried why Egypt does not permit the Palestinians entry into the neighbouring country.

“It is not my responsibility to feed my enemy. Do you want us to open our borders and allow the enemy into Israel?” he said.

Reaction from MPs varied, although all condemned Hamas’ attack.

Disy’s Averof Neophytou stated that Israel has the right to defend itself, and while Akel’s Giorgos Loukaides expressed solidarity to the families of the victims from Hamas’ attack he did strongly criticise Israel’s reaction.

He stated that Cyprus has also been a victim of invasion and occupation therefore it must feel the same whenever or whenever it happens without hypocrisy.

Indeed, he said that Israel is violating international law and committing war crimes against the Palestinian people, has been occupying their land and violating their right for decades.

Diko’s Chrysis Pantelides said that Hamas is a terrorist organisation which must be fought, while Elam’s Christos Christou said that the region will not have peace and security until Hamas is eliminated.

Independent MP Alexandra Attalides said that Israel has the right to defend itself, emphasising that Palestinians have the right to a state and to democratic leadership.

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