Photo: Zuzana Bönisch

Czech President Pavel Arrives in Tel Aviv

Czech President Petr Pavel arrived in Tel Aviv this morning. During his visit he will meet Israeli President Isaac Herzog, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana and War Cabinet member Benny Gantz.

He will also meet the families of Israeli hostages, and possibly hostages who have been released.

Israel launched an offensive in Gaza in response to the terrorist attack by Hamas, whose gunmen attacked the Israeli border area on October 7, killing over 1,100 people and kidnapping around 240. One hundred hostages were released at the end of November and 130 people continue to be held. 

The large-scale Israeli military assault on Gaza has so far killed over 23,000 Palestinians, according to the authorities, mostly women and children. In addition, Israel’s restrictions of food, water, electricity, and communications in the territory has caused an unprecedented humanitarian crisis and left hundreds of thousands of people without shelter, and at risk of famine and infectious diseases. Hearings are ongoing at the International Court of Justice over whether Israel’s actions in Gaza constitutes genocide, following charges brought by the Government of South Africa. 

Pavel with President Isaac Herzog. Photo: Zuzana Bönisch

Pavel, who was Czech Chief of the General Staff and NATO Military Committee chairman during the 2010s, will also visit one of the attacked military bases near the Gaza Strip. Israel and the Czech Republic are also expected to sign a memorandum on cyber cooperation.

Shortly after the Hamas attack, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky was the first European statesman to visit Israel. Later in October, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala also flew to Israel, while Senate Speaker Milos Vystrcil and Chamber of Deputies Speaker Marketa Pekarova Adamova arrived in Israel together at the beginning of December, .

After his stay in Israel, the Czech President will visit Qatar and meet the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Thani, and Defence Minister Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah. Pavel will also meet his compatriots at the Czech Embassy in Doha.

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