Croatia’s President Zoran Milanovic criticized the Croatian Foreign Ministry for flying an Israeli flag, stating that it was “idiotic” and inappropriate. Milanovic emphasized that the atrocities committed by Hamas do not justify Israel bombing civilians as an act of revenge.
In recent events, Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israeli bases and settlements near Gaza, resulting in the death of over 1,300 Israeli citizens. In response, Israel declared war on Hamas and began bombing Gaza with artillery and aircraft, with a stated goal of “dismantling” the Hamas leadership.
The Palestinian Health Ministry reported that at least 1,900 Palestinians, including 614 children and 370 women, have been killed in Gaza during the past week. Additionally, 7,696 people have been injured.
As a social democrat, Milanovic has clashed with the nationalist HDZ-led Croatian cabinet on various occasions. He referred to protocol in explaining his objection to the flag gesture, stating that “other flags have no place in Croatia, unless in strictly regulated circumstances.” Milanovic also expressed his intention to position the flags of NATO and the EU “slightly” below the national flag in his office to emphasize the superiority of the Croatian flag.
This is not the first time Milanovic has expressed unconventional views on international affairs. In June, he criticized the widespread use of the “glory to Ukraine” slogan by Western officials, comparing it to the slogan used by the Croatian allies of the Nazis during World War II. He argued that this association could harm Croatia’s image.
Milanovic has also made statements challenging mainstream narratives on other issues. He insisted that Croatia is not at war with Russia and criticized Germany’s decision to send tanks to Ukraine. Furthermore, he has criticized the EU’s treatment of member states like Poland and Hungary, accusing Brussels of treating Croatia as a “retarded” child.
Throughout his presidency, Milanovic has demonstrated a willingness to voice his opinions, even when they diverge from popular consensus. By doing so, he has drawn attention to his country’s stance on international affairs and contributed to ongoing debates within the EU and NATO.