Spain: Condemning attacks on Gaza is about humanity, not ideology: Spanish premier

By Alyssa McMurtry

OVIEDO, Spain (AA): Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez defended his critical posture of the Israeli attacks on Gaza on Sunday amid a growing diplomatic row between Spain and Israel.

“To condemn the vile terrorist attacks by Hamas, and, at the same time, condemn the indiscriminate slaughter of Palestinian citizens in Gaza is not a question of political parties or ideology — it is a question of humanity,” Sanchez said during a rally in his first public appearance in Spain since his dramatic tour of Israel, Palestine and Egypt late last week.

While there, Sanchez outraged Israel’s leadership by accusing the nation of failing to comply with international humanitarian law in its siege and bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

Near the end of Sanchez’s visit, who traveled alongside Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, the Israeli government summoned the Spanish and Belgian ambassadors.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen also accused the two European leaders of supporting terrorism.

In return, Spain’s Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares summoned the Israeli ambassador to Spain and called Cohen’s remarks “unacceptable.”

On Saturday, Cohen said Israel “will not forget who stands with us in these times and who supports a murderous terrorist organization that holds over 200 hostages.”

Later, Albares added that Spain would continue to “raise its voice” to protect innocent Palestinian civilians, while also condemning Hamas.

Former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said on Sunday that Spain’s stance on Palestine will “be remembered as courageous.”

But not everyone in Spain agrees.

On Sunday, the country’s conservative opposition leader Alberto Nunez Feijoo blamed Sanchez for starting a diplomatic conflict. “Sadly, Spain is less trustworthy internationally,” he told Spanish media in Madrid.

Sanchez, in his rally, acknowledged the opposition does not have to stand with his government. “But I will demand that they stand with human rights, which is what we are defending,” he told the crowd.

While Sanchez has said that his goal is to convince the EU or more member states to recognize the State of Palestine, after his trip last week he said Madrid is willing to make the move unilaterally if that is the only option.

On Sunday, Israel also escalated a feud with another EU member state – Ireland.

It began when Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar celebrated the return of an Irish hostage kidnapped by Hamas by saying she was “lost” and has now “been found and returned.”

Cohen then posted on the social media platform X that Varadkar had “lost his moral compass” and was “trying to legitimize and normalize terror” because he failed to use the term “kidnapped.”

[Photo: Palestinian family try to warm themselves & brew tea amid their demolished home during humanitarian pause. Residential areas were bombed by Israel in Khan Yunis, Gaza. Photo taken on 26 11 23. Photojournalist: Ashraf Amra /AA]

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