Italian-British Parliamentary Solidarity Mission

A diverse delegation comprising 17 Members of Parliament from Italy, the UK, Spain, Austria, Denmark, and Slovakia, along with three journalists and CEOs of ELNET-UK and ELNET-Italy visited Israel on February 11-14 as part of the ELNET’s Solidarity Missions.

Main highlights included meetings with Members of the Knesset both from the coalition and the opposition, as well as strategic briefings by Ambassador Daniel Meron and Ambassador Emmanuel Nahshon at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem.

The delegation started their mission with security briefings by Lt. Col. (Res) Peter Lerner and Col. (Res) Reuven Ben Shalom at the IDF Intelligence and International Relations base in Ramat Aviv. Making their way down south, they first visited the “car cemetery”, where the car wreckages, burnt-out shells, are stored and remain as testament to the horrors that took place.

The delegates also traveled to Sderot, a southern Israeli city that lies only a few kilometers from the Gaza Strip and has become a ghost town since the horrific Hamas terror attack. Before paying a visit to Kfar Aza, a Kibbutz that showcases the brutal devastation of the Hamas attacks, the European parliamentarians received a briefing by Micky Rosenfeld, Superintendent from the Israel Police International Cooperation Unit, on the situation on the ground from the perspective of the first responders, including the efforts by the police force, in the morning of October 7th.

This was followed by a meeting with representatives of civilians whose family members are still being held hostage in Gaza at the hands of Hamas. At the end of their first day, the delegates were also briefed by ELNET-Israel CEO Dr. Emmanuel Navon on Israel’s political landscape post-October 7, the current allegations against UNRWA based on Israeli intelligence, and the ongoing situation in Rafah.

While in Israel, a crucial part of their mission was a visit to the Knesset where the delegates met with MK Shelly Tal Meron (opposition), MK Tsega Melaku (coalition), MK Merav Ben Ari (opposition), and MK Boaz Bismuth (coalition) to discuss Hamas’ use of sexual, gender-based violence as a weapon of war and the need to find ways to counter radicalization and indoctrination in Gaza.

The MKs also engaged in direct exchanges with the European MPs and emphasized Europe’s role in ensuring Israeli legitimacy. Their visit at the Knesset was followed by a strategic briefing by Ambassador Daniel Meron and Ambassador Emmanuel Nahshon at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Both ambassadors stressed the fact that this war is a war against Islamic extremism that is looking to expand, which makes strong relations between Europe and Israel only more imperative. Amb. Meron explained to the European delegates how this war was part of a new era of conflict, as documented footage of the war would be as important as the actual war happening on the ground due to the perception vs. reality aspect, as well as the impact of social media contrary to conventional media.

The delegation also received a briefing from a representative of the Israeli National Security Council before ending their solidarity mission with a dinner with Tomer Tzadik, a survivor of the Nova Festival massacre.