“No reports of Portuguese nationals affected”
Portugal has wholeheartedly condemned the terrorist attacks that have rocked Israel in the last 24-hours, leaving many hundreds dead and others ‘kidnapped’ and taken into Palestine.
President Marcelo and prime minister António Costa have echoed sentiments expressed by Europe in general: the attacks against civilians launched by Islamic group Hamas were “unacceptable”; “Israel has the right to defend itself” – which it is now doing.
Portugal’s head of diplomacy João Gomes Cravinho tweeted the country’s “firm condemnation” yesterday, saying the Hamas attacks “will resolve nothing”. In fact, they have only contributed towards “worsening the situation in the region”.
The reality today – following Hamas’ surprise attacks in the early hours of Saturday morning – is a region back in full-scale war: hundreds of civilians are already dead (on both sides of the Gaza strip); dozens of Israelis have been ‘kidnapped’ (including grandmothers, babies and children) – presumably to be held as collateral for future exchanges of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel – and young Israelis are enlisting for the army to take part in what prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called “a war that we will win”.
In Portugal, the ministry of foreign affairs has said it does not appear that any Portuguese nationals have been affected by the attacks (see update below) – although there may well be Portuguese ‘residents’/ citizens as many Israelis have moved to Portugal in recent years, either under various tax regimes, or via the Nationality Law (also known as the Sephardic Jew amnesty which awarded citizenship to jews who could trace their ancestry back to the time of the Portuguese inquisition).
Israel’s ambassador to Portugal, Dor Shapira, has gone into what he believes is behind this latest wave of violence: Iran.
“Iran has one mission, which is to destablise the area, destabilise the world, which is what it has been doing”, he told SIC Notícias.
Ironically, Israel’s violence exploded shortly after the Arraiolos Meeting in Porto – involving numerous European heads of State – affirmed unanimous political, diplomatic and military support for Ukraine against the ongoing campaign of terror mounted by one of Iran’s ‘main allies’, Russia.
In the chaos of events unfolding, Portuguese airline TAP has cancelled all scheduled flights to and from Israel’s Tel Aviv airport, for today and Monday.
According to the company, passengers affected will be able to rebook without any additional costs, or request full refunds.
Update: SIC Notícias reports that it has now heard of at least 80 Portuguese citizens who to a large extent have been affected by the violence, as they are terrified. They are requesting immediate help to leave the country, and suggest the Portuguese embassy in Tel Aviv has been slow off the mark in responding.