Madrid/Jesuralem, Nov. 24 (EFE) – Israel’s Foreign Ministry summoned the ambassadors of Spain and Belgium over statements made by their respective prime ministers at a press conference at the Rafah border crossing that Israel considered “support for terrorism.”
Spain “categorically” rejected the accusation and summoned the Israeli ambassador in response, diplomatic sources confirmed to EFE.
Sánchez speech at the crossing
At a press conference on Friday alongside Prime Minister Alexander De Croo at the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez denounced “indiscriminate killings,” implying that Israel is not complying with international law.
“The indiscriminate killings of innocent civilians, including thousands of boys and girls, are completely unacceptable,” he said.
“I firmly believe that we must call on Israel to comply with its obligations under international law,” he added. Sánchez also called for a permanent humanitarian truce in Gaza “to reverse the catastrophic situation that the people of the Strip are experiencing.”
And he expressed hope that the temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, which began on Friday, would be the “prelude to a permanent solution to pave the way” for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “in a permanent way.”
He also said that “the time has come” for the international community and the European Union to recognize “once and for all” the state of Palestine.
“It is something that is worthwhile, that is important enough, and that we in the EU must do together. But if that is not the case, Spain will take its own decisions,” he added.
De Croo, who like Sánchez called on Hamas to release all the hostages, said that “political leaders have to go beyond their own shadows and make decisions, even if they are difficult.”
Israel reacts strongly
“Following the words of the President of the Government of Spain and the Prime Minister of Belgium in Rafah (Egypt), Foreign Minister Eli Cohen ordered the summoning of the ambassadors of both countries (Ana Sálomon Pérez and Jean-Luc Bodson) for a stern reprimanding conversation,” read an Israeli Foreign Ministry communique.
“We condemn the false statements made by the leaders of Spain and Belgium, who support terrorism,” Cohen said in the official release.
The Israeli ministry said it was acting in accordance with international law and was fighting a “murderous terrorist organization that is worse than the Islamic State.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “strongly condemned” Sánchez’s and De Croo’s remarks, saying they “do not hold Hamas fully responsible for the crimes against humanity it has committed: the massacre of Israeli citizens and the use of Palestinians as human shields.”
In addition, the Israeli embassy in Spain “strongly” condemned the resolution approved on Friday by the city council of Barcelona to suspend relations with Israel “until there is a definitive ceasefire” in the war with Hamas.Spain rejects the “false and unacceptable” accusations
The Spanish government’s response came from Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares, who replied to the Israeli Foreign Ministry that its accusations against Sánchez were “totally false and unacceptable.”
According to Albares, the accusations of the Israeli government are “particularly serious” because they are directed against the current President of the EU Council (Sánchez) and the Prime Minister of the country that will hold the Presidency of the EU from January 1 (De Croo).
The minister pointed out that since the day of the first attack by the Islamist militias Sánchez “did not hesitate to condemn the terrorist attack by Hamas and to make it clear that it does not represent the Palestinian people and is only a terrorist organization”.
In addition, the Spanish government has supported the right of the Israeli state to defend itself against this terrorist attack, as Sanchez communicated during his trip to Israel, according to Albares.