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Estonia's Riigikogu votes in favor of Israel statement of support

The Riigikogu in session.
The Riigikogu in session. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The Riigikogu, the Estonian parliament, has adopted a statement condemning the October 7 terror attacks on Israel carried out by Hamas with 78 votes in favor and none opposed.

Eleven MPs abstained at Tuesday's vote at the 101-seat chamber. The statement also fully placed responsibility for the current Israel-Gaza war on the shoulders of Hamas.

Titled "In Support of the People and State of Israel," statement read: "The Riigikogu is expressing the hope that Israel's military actions of self-defense against Hamas will achieve the goal repeatedly committed to in international agreements: The creation of an environment free of pressure, repression and violence in respect of peace negotiations between the State of Israel and legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people."

The statement adds that the murder of civilians, taking civilian hostages and attacking civilian targets can never be justified, referencing the Charter of the post-war Nuremberg Trials, which states that planning, preparing, starting or waging any war which violates international treaties, agreements and promises constitutes a crime against peace.

In the statement, parliament also expressed its condolences towards the State of Israel, its people and the families of those killed in the October terrorist attack, and acknowledges the efforts made to free the hostages, which have resulted in the release of some of those taken into captivity.

The Riigikogu also affirms that the State of Israel has the right and duty to defend itself up to and until terror attacks by Hamas are ended, all hostages are released and tthe planners and perpetrators of the October 7 attack are apprehended, in an effort to ensure such attacks against Israel and its people do not recur.

The Riigikogu via the statement has also expressed the hope that Israel cane achieve rapid success in its military and anti-terrorist activities in relation to the Gaza Strip, where the October 7 attacks were launched from.

The statement calls it "extremely important" the avoidance of civilian casualties in these ongoing activities and compliance with general international humanitarian law, in the interest of both Israel's future and peace in the region.

According to the statement, the Riigikogu condemns all and any violence against civilians by anyone and under any justifications, and calls on the Israeli government and all parties to the conflict to do everything possible to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, which has followed Israel's counter-strikes on the region.

The statement also listed concerns over reports of anti-Semitic attacks and demonstrations which have taken place in some allied European and other countries, and most notably in the Middle East and inside Russia in recent months.

The statement notes the Estonian state has zero tolerance towards even minor justifications of terrorism, manifestations of anti-Semitic feelings, or incitement of hatred based on any religion or creed.

Estonia last week voted "yes" on the UN General Assembly's ceasefire resolution, after which the Riigikogu's Foreign Affairs Committee put forward the statement in its draft form.

The statement's explanatory memorandum said that Estonia needs to see things in the broader security context, noting that "Israel is on the side of the free world [and] is objectively an ally of Estonia."

Abstaining MPs were: Kalle Grünthal (independent), Raimond Kaljulaid (SDE), Kert Kingo (EKRE), Aivar Kokk (Isamaa), Rene Kokk (EKRE), Andrei Korobeinik (Center), Tiit Maran (SDE), Anti Poolamets (EKRE), Evelin Poolamets (EKRE), Jaak Valge (EKRE) and Varro Vooglaid (EKRE).

The Riigikogu goes on its Christmas and New Year recess from Thursday.

The cross-party nature of stated support for Israel in the current war and in the aftermath of the October attacks is such that representatives of the nationalist and right-wing Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) have addressed a rally which was also addressed by representatives of Estonia's Jewish community, including the country's sole rabbi.

Meanwhile the UN Security Council is at the time of writing preparing for a vote on the Gaza ceasefire resolution also. Current delays relate to U.S. objections to the resolution's wording: The U.S. would not support "cessation of hostilities" as terminology, but may reportedly find the wording "suspension of hostilities" acceptable.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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