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'A betrayal': Spain slams EU's decision to freeze aid to Palestine

October 9, 2023 at 8:29 pm

The leader of Sumar, vice-president and acting Minister of Labor and Social Economy, Yolanda Diaz on October 6, 2023 [David Zorrakino/Europa Press via Getty Images]

Spain’s acting deputy Prime Minister, on Monday, slammed the EU’s decision to freeze funding to Palestine amid the ongoing conflict with Israel, Anadolu Agency reports.

This decision is outrageous, it’s an authentic betrayal by Europe of its own founding principles,

Yolanda Diaz posted on X.

The European Commission must rectify and Europe must lead an international action for peace, not punish an entire people.

On Monday afternoon, Oliver Varhelyi, European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, announced that all payments to Palestine from Europe, its biggest donor, have been immediately suspended and all budget proposals are postponed until further notice.

Diaz is the leader of the Sumar party, which is the junior coalition party in the Spanish government. But discontent over the EU’s move to halt aid is widespread among Spanish leaders, diplomatic sources told Spanish news agency, Europapress, and daily, El Diario.

According to the reports, Spain’s Foreign Minister, Jose Manuel Albares called Varhely to share his “disagreement” with the announcement. He also said that he and other foreign ministers were unaware of the move before it was announced.

Albares has reportedly asked the EU’s Foreign Policy chief, Josep Borrell, to bring the measure to freeze funding up for debate at Tuesday’s emergency meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers.

Sources in the Irish government also told Europapress that they disagreed with the EU’s move to cut funding and said the Council did not have the “legal basis” to make this unilateral move.

Hours after Varhelyi’s announcement, European Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarcic added nuance.

WATCH: Israeli air strikes flatten Al-Aklouk residential tower in Gaza City

“While I most strongly condemn the terrorist attack by #Hamas, it is imperative to protect civilians and respect IHL (International Humanitarian Law). EU humanitarian aid to #Palestinians in need will continue as long as needed,” he posted on X.

Gaza-based Resistance group, Hamas launched Operation Al-Aqsa Flood against Israel early Saturday, firing a barrage of rockets. It said the surprise attack was in response to the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Occupied East Jerusalem and growing illegal settlers’ violence.

In retaliation, the Israeli army launched Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in Gaza has risen to 560, the Gaza-based Health Ministry said on Monday amid ongoing fighting. It also said the number of injured surged to 2,900.

The Interior Ministry in Gaza said the Israeli army has “intensified its aggression” on Gaza with hundreds of raids.

The Israeli army said it had struck over 500 targets in overnight raids on Gaza, which they claimed were targets belonging to the Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups.

At least 900 Israelis have been killed and over 2,616 others wounded in the fighting, according to local media.