Italian ambassador kicked out of Tunisia book fair over support for Israel

Italian ambassador kicked out of Tunisia book fair over support for Israel
Pro-Palestinian protesters in the Tunisian capital forced the Italian ambassador to leave a book fair over his country's ongoing support for Israel.
2 min read
29 April, 2024
Tunisia has seen frequent protests in support of Palestinians in Gaza [Getty]

Italy’s ambassador to Tunisia was forced to leave a book fair he was attending over the weekend after protestors loudly heckled him over the Italian government’s support for Israel.

Alessandro Brunas was a guest at the International Book Fair in Tunis when a group of protestors stormed in and began shouting out "Italy is fascist" as they held up a Palestinian flag.

Addressing the envoy, the protesters also shouted out: "Shame on you" and "you are not welcome here".

The ambassador was then escorted out by security.

Tunisia has seen frequent pro-Palestinian protests since the start of Israel’s indiscriminate war on Gaza on 7 October, and the North African country does not recognise Israel.

Rome continued to sell arms to Israel at the peak of its ferocious bombardment of the Gaza Strip, data shows.

Between October and November 2023, Italy exported to Israel "weapons and ammunition" worth €817,536 ($885,964): €233,025 in October and €584,511 in November. The Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) certified this through its data on foreign trade.

In December 2023, Italian exports of "weapons and ammunition" to Israel reached €1.3 million.

However, many Italian cities have also seen pro-Palestinian marches, with protestors calling for a ceasefire and the suspension of any assistance to Israel.

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Over 34,000 people, mostly women and children, have been killed by the unprecedented air and ground offensive in Gaza, and large swathes of the Palestinian territory have been destroyed.

The war has pushed Gaza to the brink of famine, and a looming Israeli assault on Rafah, at the southern end of the enclave, threatens over 1.4 million Palestinians taking shelter in the city.

Some of Israel’s closest allies have warned it against invading Rafah, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that he wants to destroy the Palestinian group Hamas.