Estonian parlt's foreign affairs committee chair to visit Israel with Baltic counterparts

  • 2023-10-13
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - The chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the Riigikogu, Marko Mihkelson, is about to visit Israel, a country at war, from Sunday to Wednesday. 

The visit to Jerusalem by the chairs of the foreign affairs committees of Baltic parliaments, which will take place from Sunday to Oct. 18, was agreed before the start of the hostilities.

The press service of the Riigikogu said on Friday that as things stand, the visit will go ahead.

"We will probably be able to share more detailed information about the meetings and the like on Monday morning," Karin Kangro, spokesperson for the Riigikogu, told BNS.

The war began at daybreak on Oct. 7, when the armed wing of the extremist group Hamas fired thousands of rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, militants broke out of the blockaded coastal strip and engaged in battles with Israeli soldiers.

Mihkelson said on social media on Oct. 7 that Hamas was presumably acting with the support of both Iran and Russia. He said that it's not just the problem of settlements or the so-called problem of Jerusalem Mosque -- the dimension is certainly broader and in great probability Hamas would not have acted without the support of Iran and presumably also Russia.

"During the past year, Hamas leaders have visited Moscow twice," Mihkelson said. "In order to carry out a well-coordinated surprise attack, Hamas probably also needed external intelligence assistance. In any case, the outbreak of a war in Israel is to Moscow and Tehran's liking, which will tie the attention of the West, destabilize the situation in the region and potentially thwart Israel's rapprochement with Saudi Arabia. It will also help distract the world's media attention from the ongoing large-scale war in Ukraine."

According to Mihkelson, it is certainly in Estonia's interest that Israel strikes back forcefully and peace is restored. An escalation of the conflict meanwhile will clearly serve the interests of Russia and Iran, and indirectly China.