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Spanish PM: Israel ‘systematically’ occupying Palestinian territories

December 1, 2023 at 8:21 am

Spanish acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez speaks during the investiture debate at the Spanish Parliament in Madrid, Spain on November 15, 2023 [Isabel Infantes/Getty Images]

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said yesterday that Israel has been systematically occupying the Palestinian territories and called for  the recognition of the State of Palestine, Anadolu news agency reported.

“We have seen Israel systematically occupy the Palestinian territories, the West Bank. And now we see what is happening in Gaza,”  he told Spanish broadcaster TVE.

The Spanish premier, who has recently been reelected, said his government has condemned the Palestinian resistance’s infiltration of towns in southern Israel on 7 October, but also stressed the necessity of “Israel’s compliance with human rights in its actions.”

“The scenes of killing children in Gaza raised doubts about Israel’s fulfilment of international human rights,” he said, stressing that the solution to ending the crisis between Israel and Palestine “must be political”, through recognition of the Palestinian state.

Sanchez said he has heard from representatives of Muslim nations that Western solidarity rings hollow and peace conferences do not work because promises are not complied with.

“They are asking us to take a concrete step. This step is the recognition of the Palestinian state by the West and Europe,” he said.

It would be in Europe’s interests to recognise the State of Palestine, he continued, because this would boost Europe’s moral standing and it would be a step toward peace, which would also be in the EU’s geopolitical interests.

He expressed his concern that without peace, the conflict could spill into other nations like Lebanon, Egypt or Jordan and destabilise the Mediterranean region.

“Do we really want to have two open fronts? One in the Middle East and one in Ukraine? Politics and diplomacy should help prevent that, and that is what the Spanish government defends,” Sanchez said.

Nine of the 27 EU countries have already recognised the State of Palestine. In 2014, Sweden became the first, while other nations including Malta and some from the Eastern bloc had already recognised Palestine before joining the EU.

Of the 193 UN member states, 139 had recognised the State of Palestine as of June 2023. Sanchez emphasised that “mainly Western states” are the ones who have failed to do so, including the US.

UN: 1.8 million displaced in Gaza