Israeli Ambassador Noah Gal Gendler/ "Albania's Jewish Case" a Story for All the World

By Genc Mlloja

Senior Diplomatic Editor

“We see Albania as a role model for coexistence and tolerance among religions and minorities. As for the "Jewish case of Albania" we should commend the generosity and bravery of the people of Albania during the darkest of days. Therefore, it is our duty to spread this story all around the world.”

This comment was made by Mr. Noah Gal Gendler, Israeli Ambassador to Albania, where many activities were held to pay tribute to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust on January 27, a day that was officially proclaimed International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust by the United Nations General Assembly in November 2005. The date marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau on 27 January 1945.

Touching upon the coronavirus pandemic he said this is a time when all the countries are united to find a solution to a common enemy. “Naturally, we offer Albania our experience and technological advancements to put an end to this pandemic,” said Mr. Gendler.

When asked if there had been any demarche by official Tirana to consider a solidarity help regarding anti-Covid vaccines for Albanians at this critical time, the Ambassador said: “Official demarche? Not to the best of my knowledge.”

Regarding the future procedures of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and Kosovo, the Ambassador said: “This is an ongoing process, which has to go through all the state channels, negotiations are taking place.”

In a comment on developments in the Western Balkans and particularly on Kosovo-Serbia dialogue the Ambassador said Israel has chosen not to interfere in this process. ‘It is a regional dispute to be resolved in direct negotiations.”

In a comment on the relations of Israel with the Biden administration, the Israeli top diplomat in Tirana said they are bipartisan relations. “Both parties, Republicans and Democrats have been supporters of Israel. Therefore, we believe we will have very good relations with the Biden administration.”

Touching upon the possibilities of a breakthrough in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Ambassador Gendler said it was possible. “If Palestinians see the ‘Abraham Accords’ as an opportunity, not a risk, the process with them can be reestablished. A new paradigm has been created for the peace and stability of the region, and the international community must be called upon to exert pressure on the Palestinian leadership to return to direct negotiations with Israel without preconditions,” said Israeli Ambassador Noah Gal Gendler in the following interview:

Albanian Daily News: As we are in the first month of 2021 it would be of great interest Mr. Ambassador to have an overview on the progress of the bilateral relations and overall cooperation between Albania and Israel, of course, against the background of the coronavirus pandemic. Being aware that Israel is highly advanced in the medical field in what aspect could your country assist Albania?

Israeli Ambassador Noah Gal Gendler: This is a time when all the countries are united to find a solution to a common enemy. Naturally, we offer Albania our experience and technological advancements to put an end to this pandemic.

- As a follow up, Mr. Ambassador, Israel has started the anti-Covid vaccination making the vaccine available for the entire population. Are there plans for helping Palestinians to get vaccinated given their feeble economic potential?

- Palestinians have chosen to buy the Russian vaccine. Israel’s duty is to assist them in every step with vaccination to the population.

- As everywhere Albanians, who are passing through the worst hit of the pandemic, see hope in friendly countries. Considering Israel as such, has there been any demarche to consider a solidarity help regarding anti-Covid vaccines for Albanians at this critical time?

- Official demarche? Not to the best of my knowledge.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="300"] Courtesy of Tirana City Hall.[/caption]

- International Remembrance Day was marked on January 27, 2021, and there were many activities in Albania. Which are your impressions on their message while recalling those hard dark times of the Holocaust, particularly what Albanians did for the Jewish people who settled down in this country?

- We see Albania as a role model for coexistence and tolerance among religions and minorities. We can help Albania to spread this unique story all around the world.

As for the "Jewish case of Albania" we should commend the generosity and bravery of the people of Albania during the darkest of days. Therefore, it is our duty to spread this story all around the world.

- Mr. Ambassador, let me turn to Kosovo. According to the information on a meeting between former President Trump with Kosovo PM Hoti and Serb President Vucic last September it was announced that Israel recognizes Kosovo. Please can you say when it is expected the formal procedure for the establishment of the diplomatic relations between the two countries?

- This is an ongoing process, which has to go through all the state channels. Negotiations are taking place.

- As a follow up, Mr. Gendler, as Israel is keen on the developments in the Western Balkans which is your opinion on the land swap between Kosovo and Serbia or any other parts of this region?

- We choose not to interfere in this process. It is a regional dispute to be resolved in direct negotiations. Our participation in this process goes as far as to guarantee that it is done under peaceful measures.

- Which are, Mr. Ambassador, the expectations of Israel of the foreign policy of the new US Administration under President Joe Biden globally and in particular its approach towards Israel?

- The relations between Israel and the USA are bipartisan relations. Both parties, Republicans and Democrats have been supporters of Israel. Therefore, we believe we will have very good relations with the Biden administration. Considering the treaties signed so far with neighboring countries, we are optimistic that this tendency will continue.

- There is a new impetus in the relations between Israel and some Arab countries. According to reports, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates welcomed the establishment of full ties between Israel and Morocco. What do you expect from such diplomatic moves and do you see possibilities that a breakthrough in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could get momentum next year?

- It is possible. If Palestinians see the ‘Abraham Accords’ as an opportunity, not a risk, the process with them can be reestablished. A new paradigm has been created for the peace and stability of the region, and the international community must be called upon to exert pressure on the Palestinian leadership to return to direct negotiations with Israel without preconditions.

The State of Israel is committed to stability and calm in the region and is considering advancing development projects in the Gaza Strip, if a solution to the issue of prisoners and missing persons is provided, and if the intensification of Hamas and the firing on Israel are stopped.

-As it is the first interview for this year 2021 could you share, Mr. Ambassador, with ADN’s readers how the atmosphere of the Christmas celebrations in Israel was?

- It was a kind of sad atmosphere due to the Covid pandemic. We will pray for better days to come./ADN