Austria's Engagement in the Middle East: Solidarity with Israel and Support for Palestine

PeopleDiplomats ♦ Published: November 12, 2023; 23:47 ♦ (Vindobona)

Amid the tense situation in the Middle East, Austria has reaffirmed its solidarity with Israel and at the same time pledged humanitarian aid for the Palestinian civilian population.

The Austrian parliament has declared its support that Israel has the right under international law to defend itself against attacks and hold Hamas accountable. / Picture: © Parlamentsdirektion / Johannes Zinner

In light of the recent Hamas attacks on Israel and the resulting humanitarian crisis, the Austrian government has decided to provide 2 million euros through the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). This step is aimed at alleviating the emergency of the Palestinian population and strengthening the capacities of regional Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg and Chancellery Minister Susanne Raab have emphasized the importance of this support, but at the same time stress the importance of ensuring that this aid reaches those in need and is not misused for terrorist activities. Austria's commitment to the Palestinian civilian population is in line with its commitment against terrorism and anti-Semitism.

At the recent meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Parliament, Foreign Minister Schallenberg underlined Austria's stance against a ceasefire but advocated humanitarian pauses to allow evacuations and aid deliveries to the Gaza Strip. He also emphasized that a long-term solution could only lie in a two-state solution. The review of Austrian development funds for projects in Palestine continues to ensure that they do not reach terrorist organizations such as Hamas.

In addition to financial aid, the Austrian Foreign Policy Committee has unanimously called for solidarity with Israel and the establishment of humanitarian corridors in the Gaza Strip. This resolution, supported by the ÖVP, Greens, SPÖ, and NEOS, calls for compliance with international humanitarian law and supports a lasting and sustainable peace solution in the Middle East based on a two-state solution.

The current development shows Austria's determined commitment both in supporting Israel in the fight against terrorism and in providing humanitarian aid to the suffering civilian population in Palestine and reflects the complex nature of the conflict in the Middle East.

Austrian Parliament

Austrian MFA