The string of violence in Israel and the Gaza Strip has prompted the Romanian authorities to take action
Repeated every few years, the recent recrudescence of violence in the Middle East is but another episode of the endless war between Israel and the Arab terrorist organizations from Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. As usual, the Romanian diplomacy is carefully monitoring the situation in the region since Romania feels responsible for the destiny of some of the inhabitants of the region, namely the hundreds of thousands of Romanian-born Israeli citizens, of whom many have preserved their Romanian citizenship, and the many Romanian women who have married Palestinian citizens and are now living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
A week ago, when the Israeli military operations against the terrorists in Gaza were dawning, the Romanian authorities coordinated the repatriation from the Gaza Strip, upon request, of 84 Romanian citizens. The Romanian Foreign Minister thanked his Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian counterparts, as part of various phone conversations, for their assistance, without which these repatriation operations would not have been possible, given the gravity of the situation in the region.
This weekend, due to the worsening of the situation on the ground, another 19 Romanian citizens and members of their families were repatriated, which takes to 103 the number of people evacuated from the Gaza Strip by the Romanian state. Preparations for evacuation have been difficult given the red tape involved. Foreign Minister Corlatean:
“The Israeli side had to go over the name and surname of every person on the list, before giving the go ahead. There were situations when we did not get the necessary approvals from the very beginning, especially in the case of mixed families. It is very difficult to evacuate the wife and children and leave the husband behind. We are still working on such cases with the Israeli authorities.”
Romania has got involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict also politically and diplomatically. Bucharest has constantly called for a peaceful solution to the Middle East conflict. In full Cold War, Romania was the only country behind the Iron Curtain which, at the end of the 1960s, did not suspend diplomatic relations with Israel, although it had a cordial relationship with the former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
After the 1989 change of regime in Romania, all the three post-Communist presidents of Romania visited Israel and the Palestinian territories and supported the idea of two states, a Jewish and a Palestinian state respectively, that should co-exit in peace and respect for each other’s security.