Czech president arrives in Tel Aviv to begin three-day tour of Israel and Qatar

Petr Pavel plans to meet with families of Israeli hostages and visit one of the military bases near the Gaza Strip.

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 15.01.2024 11:15:00 (updated on 17.01.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

Czech President Petr Pavel arrived in Tel Aviv this morning, where he was welcomed by Israeli President Isaac Herzog. Pavel is scheduled to hold meetings with top Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana, and War Cabinet member Benny Gantz.

Additionally, President Pavel plans to meet with the families of the Israeli hostages, and there is a possibility of engaging with the recently released hostages.

In Tel Aviv this morning, President Petr Pavel expressed support to Israel in its fight against terrorists from the Palestinian movement Hamas. "We stand in solidarity with your right to fight terrorism," Pavel said after meeting his counterpart Herzog.

"We stand in solidarity with your right to fight terrorism," Pavel said after meeting his counterpart Herzog. At the the same time, he expressed concern about civilian casualties.

Pavel emphasized that Czechia not only views Israel as a friend but also as a strategic partner. He expressed support for the release of hostages abducted from southern Israel by Hamas, endorsing any actions that contribute to this goal. Pavel intends to highlight this issue during his visit to Qatar on Wednesday.

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While a hundred hostages were released at the end of November, 130 people remain in captivity. Israeli authorities report that the large-scale military operation in Gaza, in retaliation to the Hamas attack, has claimed the lives of about 24,000 Palestinians, including Hamas members.

President Pavel, formerly the Czech Chief of the General Staff and NATO Military Committee chairman in the 2010s, is also scheduled to visit one of the military bases near the Gaza Strip that came under attack. Furthermore, Israel and Czechia are expected to sign a memorandum on cyber cooperation during this visit.

In the aftermath of the Hamas attack, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský was the first European statesman to visit Israel. Subsequently, in October, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala visited, and in December, Senate Speaker Miloš Vystrčil and Chamber of Deputies Speaker Markéta Pekarová Adamová arrived in Israel together.

Following his time in Israel, Pavel is set to visit Qatar, where he will meet with the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Thani, and Defense Minister Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah. The Czech president will also have an opportunity to connect with compatriots at the Czech Embassy in Doha.

The backdrop to this visit is Israel's military response to a terrorist attack by Hamas. On Oct. 7, Hamas gunmen attacked the Israeli border area, resulting in the tragic death of 1,200 people and the kidnapping of approximately 240 individuals.

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