Vseviov: Hamas attack plays into Russia's hands

Jonatan Vseviov.
Jonatan Vseviov. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Hamas' attack in Israel benefits Russia in that it draws the West's attention away from Ukraine and ties it down dealing with several problems at the same time, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Secretary General Jonatan Vseviov said.

"Hamas' attack also constitutes a crime against Palestinian civilians. Because the Palestinians are also suffering, just like Israeli civilians. The conflict, of course, also has a strong escalation potential. There are signs to suggest forces hostile toward Israel might at the very least want to test the water, if not open up a new front, which would further complicate the situation," Vseviov said on the "Terevisioon" morning show.

The ministry undersecretary said that nothing happens for no reason in international affairs, which is why we need to look at who stands to benefit from the current situation.

"Things happen when someone decides they need to happen. And even though we do not have enough details yet, we can say that just as that attack was terrible for peaceful civilians on both sides, it was useful for someone else. It serves those who are opposed to the normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab countries. And it serves the interests of those who would benefit from the West being distracted in Ukraine."

Asked whether we might say the conflict benefits Russia, Vseviov answered in the affirmative.

"It serves their interests. It also benefits other forces who are interested in our attention being fragmented between several problems.

Vseviov said that the West stands with Israel and the country's right to defend itself.

"Estonia has unequivocally condemned the terrorist group's attacks. Broadly speaking, it is a major challenge for the West in an series of existing challenges, mainly Ukraine, but also instability in Africa and the migration crisis it is fueling."

The undersecretary said that it is important to retain the West's absolute unity, and it must not allow itself to be split.

"Secondly, we need to be able to tackle several problems at the same time. Thirdly, we must be even more decisive and expedient in supporting a battlefield victory for Ukraine. But also on the strategic playing field through sanctions, Russia's isolation and providing Ukraine with a credible European perspective. Only then can we achieve some measure of global stabilization."

Vseviov also said that looming elections in many European countries will also shuffle the deck, as will European Parliament elections and presidential elections in America.

"Policies are subject to open debate in democratic election campaigns. The West can be very passionate and polarized in such debates at times. It is normal. But our actions have shown that we have the capacity to understand things. True, it can take us a while. We sometimes react too late. But late is better than never."

Vseviov added that maintaining Western unity is a challenge also for Estonia today as the country's existence depends on it.

"Not just as a slogan, but as a course where we try to defend not just individual countries' territorial integrity or prevent genocide, but try to defend the world order that, among other things, guarantees Estonia's existence. I believe we are right in theory and will figure out the practical side. In the end, the West is home to over a billion people, and if we can plot a course and stick to it, no one should be able to stand up to us."


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Editor: Urmet Kook, Marcus Turovski

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