“Good morning everyone,
I would like to thank you, President al-Sisi for promoting and hosting this extremely important and timely summit here in Cairo. A meeting that is being held in the wake of the terrible attack by Hamas last October 7, which came down on unarmed civilians with unprecedented savagery, which leaves us horrified and must be condemned without any ambiguity.
It was only right for Italy to be here today. It was right to be here because of the historic role that my nation has always played, and plays, as a bridge of dialogue between Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East. It was only right to be here because of the possibilities for a dialogue that this summit holds, despite the fact that the starting positions can sometimes seem distant. Because even if our initial points of view may not seem perfectly aligned, our interests are, however, perfectly aligned. The interest of all those sitting around this table is that what is happening in Gaza does not become a much broader conflict, does not become a war of religion, does not become a clash of civilizations, maintaining the brave efforts made over the years to normalize relations.
The impression I have is that the modalities with which Hamas decided to hit Israel were not by chance. It was not to defend the rights of the Palestinian people but rather to force Israel into a reaction against Gaza that would cut at the root any possibility of dialogue creating an unsolvable gap between the Arab countries, Israel and the West, ending in a definite way peace and the well-being for all citizens, including those who we say we must defend and represent. This means that all of us here are the target, and I believe we cannot fall into this trap. This would be extremely stupid. This is the reason why it is important to be here and to continue to reason and pursue dialogue.
In this speech I would like to bring a few points to your attention.
Firstly terrorism. Terrorism has affected the Muslim world even more than it has affected the West. The terrorist actions that have occurred over time have actually weakened the legitimate claims and demands of peoples, especially in the Muslim world. Into this dynamic, comes the conscious choice of Hamas, which uses terrorism to try to disrupt any process of dialogue and to prevent the prospect of arriving, even for the Palestinian people, to a concrete solution. No cause can justify terrorism. No cause, no matter how good, will ever justify knowingly prearranged and organized terrorist aggression aimed at targeting innocent civilians. Never will any good cause be able to justify massacres against women or the beheading of babies, purposely filmed by a video camera. No cause. In the face of such terrorist aggression, a state is fully entitled to claim its right to exist, to reassert its right to defend itself and to ensure the security of its citizens and borders. But a State’s reaction must never be motivated by a feeling of revenge. This is why States are what they are, our point of reference. A state must base its reaction on precise security reasons, commensurating the use force and protecting the civilian population. This is the boundary within which a state’s reaction to terrorist aggression must remain and I trust that this is also the will of the State of Israel.
Our immediate priority remains humanitarian access, which is essential to prevent further suffering of the civilian population but also mass exoduses that would contribute to destabilizing this region. The mediation work undertaken by many of the actors present at this Conference is extremely important in this sense. That is why I welcomed the European Commission’s decision to triple humanitarian aid to Gaza to more than 75 million euros. Italy is also working to increase bilateral aid. This increase in resources must be accompanied by a very strict monitoring on the use of such resources. The news coming in since this morning are encouraging and I thank President Sisi for this as well.
We are very concerned about the fate of the hostages in the hands of Hamas, including Italians among them. We call for the immediate release of all hostages, first and foremost, women, children and the elderly. We must continue to work together for the exit of the most fragile individuals and foreign civilians from Gaza.
We must do all we can to prevent an escalation of this crisis, to avoid losing control of what can happen, as the consequences would be unimaginable. The most serious way to achieve this is to promote resumption of a political initiative for a concrete, structural, long-term solution with a precisely defined time line, based on the “two peoples, two states” perspective. The Palestinian people must have the right to be a self-governing Nation, in freedom, alongside a State of Israel to which the full right to existence and security must be recognized. To this end, Italy is ready to do absolutely whatever is necessary.
Thank you again, President Sisi”