Creating new perspectives since 2009

Finland says time for Israel ‘self-defence is over’

January 25, 2024 at 2:45 pm

Finland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Elina Valtonen speaks to the media during a Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) meeting at the EU headquarters in Brussels on January 22, 2024. [JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images]

Finland’s Foreign Minister, Elina Valtonen, on Thursday lashed out at Israel for failing to protect civilians in Gaza, joining international calls for an immediate ceasefire, Anadolu Agency reports.

“No, the time for (Israel’s) self-defence is over. I say very clearly: Enough is enough now, the civilian population in Gaza needs an immediate humanitarian ceasefire,” Valtonen told the German media group, RND.

Asked if Israel needs to do more to prevent civilian casualties in Gaza, the Finnish Foreign Minister said: “Yes, definitely. Many civilians die every day and Israel is not doing enough to prevent it.”

Valtonen also urged Israel “to open more border crossings to allow humanitarian aid deliveries into the Gaza Strip.”

“The civilians (in Gaza) need humanitarian assistance as quickly as possible because many are in dire need and or are already dying. People are starving and have no clean drinking water – and this is mainly due to Israel,” she added.

Meanwhile, Valtonen reiterated her support for a two-state solution, saying the EU peace plan could be a good basis for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The (EU) peace plan is promising and it is good that we are working together with the Arab countries on a plan for lasting peace in the region. I am glad that we in the EU agree that the second state solution can be the only solution,” she said.

“Of course, the details still need to be negotiated, for example regarding the exact security guarantees for Israelis and Palestinians. But if the countries in the region agree on this plan, it can be the decisive step towards a peaceful future,” Valtonen went on to say.

Israel launched an offensive on the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack by Hamas on 7 October, killing more than 25,700 people. About 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack. Nearly 136 hostages are believed to be held by Hamas.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

The Israeli onslaught has left 85 per cent of Gaza’s population internally displaced amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while more than half of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Qatar: World witnessing one of the bloodiest conflicts