The Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has given his backing to Israel in a speech to the Israeli parliament. He called for efficient sanctions against Iran, which has persistently threatened Israel and is suspected by the west of wanting to develop nuclear weapons.
His Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu recalled how the Italian leader’s mother saved a Jewish girl from arrest during World War II.
The story appeared to bring an emotional response from Netanyahu’s guest. The Israeli prime minister described how the woman bravely confronted a German policeman in front of other passengers on a train and stopped him from holding the girl.
Italy under Berlusconi is one of Israel’s strongest allies. He told the Knesset it was his dream to see Israel in the European Union. He said Italy was proud to defend the country against UN accusations of having committed war crimes in Gaza.
The Italian leader also visited Ramallah. He reiterated his support for a two-state solution and appealed to both sides – calling on the Palestinian authority to return to the negotiating table and Israel to confirm its proposals for restarting a dialogue.