Israel has every right to protect its citizens, says Czech Foreign Minister Kulhánek

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Israel has the full right to protect its citizens and has the unwavering support of the Czech Republic, said Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhánek during his Thursday visit to Israel. In the town of Petah Tikva near Tel Aviv, together with Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and his Slovak counterpart Ivan Korčok, Kulhánek inspected buildings damaged by a Palestinian rocket.

The conflict between Israel and Palestinian Hamas began on May 10, and since then, 242 people, mostly Palestinians, have died.

“I am almost speechless,” said Kulhánek after seeing the destruction from the fighting. He noted that he was honored by Ashkenazi’s invitation. “When I received it, I did not hesitate for a second,” the minister said. According to him, Israel needs to be reminded that it has friends in the world. “Israel has every right to protect its citizens,” Kulhánek repeated.

He noted that Israeli flags hang near Prague Castle, at the Straka Academy, and at the Czernin Palace, where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is located.

Kulhanek also met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In addition to the current complicated situation in the region, they also discussed the possibility of resuming travel between the two countries for people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19. “Israeli tourists are a boost for our tourism sector,” the Czech minister said. Germany’s head of diplomacy, Heiko Maas, is also in Israel and is planning to meet with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh in Ramallah as well.

In the afternoon, Jakub Kulhánek and Ivan Korčok visited the battery of the Iron Dome defense system, which woul typically consist of launchers, radar and a control center. According to Israel, the system can destroy 90 percent of missiles before they fall.

Army spokesman Jonatan Konrikus presented the system to the ministers, saying it has saved hundreds of thousands of lives. However, the spokesman said, up to three times the number of batteries would be needed to fully protect Israel. Among other things, the Iron Dome also monitors where the missiles are flying and the expected point of impact.

The current conflict is the biggest test the system has had to face, as Palestinian militants have fired a similar number of rockets in this short time as during the entire war between Israel and Hamas in 2014.

Minister Ashkenazi thanked the Czech Republic and Slovakia for their solidarity. According to him, no country would tolerate an attack on its territory. “Nearly 4,000 rockets were fired from a populated area into a populated area,” he said.


Israel has also been attacking Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip intensively. According to Israel, 160 of the 230 Palestinian victims were members of terrorist organizations, while the rest are civilians. Israelis say they are trying to prevent civilian casualties as much as possible, warning citizens of air raids and calling for evacuation. Nevertheless, there are 65 children and 39 women among the dead. Israel, meanwhile, has recorded 12 dead, including two minors.

Title image: Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, second left, Slovakia’s Foreign Minister Ivan Korčok, center, and Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhánek, second from right, visit the site of a rocket attack in the central Israeli city of Petah Tikva, Thursday, May 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)


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