Friday, May 19, 2006

Ciao Italia

Nearly Romano Prodi's first task on getting elected Prime Minister of Italy is to bring home its 2,700 troops from Iraq. To do so, though, he has to survive a vote of no confidence.
Making his first policy address as head of government, Romano Prodi formally abandoned the unequivocal support that his predecessor, Silvio Berlusconi, gave to U.S. policy in Iraq. Prodi appeared to indirectly criticize the United States' holding of terrorism suspects, saying such efforts must never undermine personal liberties.

Prodi was addressing the Senate, where he and his coalition have a meager margin of votes, on the eve of a vote of confidence. His camp hopes the vote will be the final confirmation of power for his coalition, which includes eight parties, among them socialists, former Communists, environmentalists and former Christian Democrats.
How is that for record timing, making the first confidence vote congruent with his first policy address.

Meanwhile, Israel is also suffering repercussions in its diplomacy from the new Prodi government.
Massimo d'Alema, who once referred to Israel as a “terror state,” was sworn in last week as Italy’s foreign minister and deputy prime minister, along with the rest of Prime Minister Romano Prodi’s new cabinet.

D’Alema, 57, a former prime minister himself, is a communist and member of the Democratic Left party. He is known for his pro-Palestinian stance, and in the past has expressed his opposition to the construction of settlements, the West Bank security fence and IDF activity in the territories.

Following Hamas’ January 2006 victory in the Palestinian elections, d’Alema said that ‘while the organization is in fact extremist, the terror attacks it wages on Israel are part of the Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation.’

A woman who accompanied the new Italian foreign minister during his visit to Jerusalem in 1999 said that upon his arrival she greeted him by saying “welcome to Israel,” to which he responded, “welcome to Palestine.”
Of course D’Alema describes his attitude as pro-Israeli.

"I have always been a friend to Israel,” he said recently.

Of course, European perspective on Israel being what it is, he may actually have been being sincere there.

Or not.


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