Martin Stropnicky
Martin StropnickyReuters

Czech Foreign Affairs Minister Martin Stropnický on Thursday issued a public statement in which he bluntly pointed out that Hamas was solely responsible for the deaths of Palestinian Arabs during Gaza border protests in recent weeks.

In the statement quoted by Yediot Aharonot, titled "Gaza – Telling things as they really are," Stropnický wrote that "no country would reconcile itself to such provocations."

There was no "causal relationship" between the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and the violence near the border, the minister opined.

"The relocation of the U.S. embassy was thus only used by the terrorist organization Hamas… to exacerbate even further the events it had organized long before," he said.

"The fact is that Hamas, which is also recognized by the European Union as a terrorist organization and which still does not recognize Israel, is the only true ruler of the Gaza Strip, and as such is fully responsible for the form and objectives of the violent actions that have occurred on the border between Israel and Gaza in recent weeks," added Stropnický.

"Attempts to break through the fence and infiltrate Israel could thus be construed as terrorism. Hamas even admitted that most of those killed were members of the group," he pointed out.

Stropnický then went on to say that it was "plain to see how Hamas was treating Gaza's populace. Hamas operatives burned the Gazan side of the Kerem Shalom crossing, through which humanitarian assistance is sent to Gaza."

"It's also important to note the minute detail that Hamas habitually sends children to the riots' focal points, so it could blame Israel for the deaths of children in front of the world," he wrote, before concluding that "Hamas simply does not care about the strip's citizens or about improving conditions therein, and is more preoccupied with receiving as much attention from the international community as possible so as to sway its stance."

"Such conduct will not improve the situation in Gaza and will certainly not contribute to settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It's time to call a spade a spade," he wrote.

Arabs have hurled rocks, firebombs, and flaming tires at Israeli soldiers securing the border and have used makeshift “terror kites” to drop explosives on Israeli positions during the violent riots, dubbed “the March of the Return”, which began on March 30, long before the relocation of the American embassy.

The State Department pointed out last week that Hamas is using the unveiling of the American embassy in Jerusalem as an "excuse" to encourage violence.

"We have watched the demonstrations over the past six weeks. These demonstrations are nothing new,” said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, adding, "If Hamas wants to use that as an excuse to rile people up and to encourage violence, that is their choice. It's an irresponsible choice."

The Czech Republic has shown support for Israel in recent months, and particularly its president Milos Zeman, who has expressed his desire to relocate the Czech embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

The Czech Republic recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December, following U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of the city as Israel's capital.

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, however, ruled out Zeman’s suggestion that the Czech Republic would follow the United States’ example and move its embassy to Jerusalem, saying Trump’s move “is not good. You can see the reactions.”

Meanwhile, Israel's Ambassador to the Czech Republic Daniel Meron welcomed the Czech Foreign Minister’s statement on Hamas, saying he "congratulated the foreign affairs minister for uncovering the truth regarding the sources of violence in our region."

Stropnický's statements, Ambassador Meron said, reflected the "special relationship between the two countries and the fact that Israel and the Czech Republic shared values and a common past. Exactly 70 years ago, the Czech Republic assisted Israel in its War of Independence, and is now continuing to assist us in the war on propaganda."