Spain Premier says recognising State of Palestine is in Europe’s interest
Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, said on Thursday that it would be in Europe’s interests to recognise the State of Palestine, Anadolu Agency reports.
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"What we are witnessing in Gaza is unacceptable. And what is going to happen in Gaza after the spiral of violence ends is not going to be acceptable either," he told Spanish broadcaster, TVE, in his first interview since he was re-elected to lead Spain.
Secondly, he said recognising Palestine as a step toward peace would also be in the EU’s geopolitical interests.
He 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.
“I think they are right. Because all these years, we’ve watched as Israel has systematically been occupying Palestinian territory in the West Bank. And now we are seeing what’s happening in Gaza,” said Sanchez.
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.
In response to what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described as Sanchez’s “shameful comments” on Thursday, Netanyahu instructed Foreign Minister, Eli Cohen, to summon the Spanish Ambassador to Israel for a reprimand, according to the Israeli Premier’s office. The Spanish Prime Minister was in Israel, Palestine and Egypt last week. At the end of his trip, the Israeli government accused Sanchez of supporting Hamas as he blamed Israel for failing to comply with international law.
"But, with the same conviction, we need to tell Israel to comply with international humanitarian law. And with the images we are seeing from Gaza, and the growing number of victims, especially children, frankly, I have doubts that they are complying," he reiterated.
During his Middle East tour, Sanchez announced that Spain would unilaterally recognise Palestine if other member states or the EU itself failed to do so.
In the EU, nine of the 27 countries have already recognised the State of Palestine. In 2014, Sweden became the first EU member state to unilaterally recognise it, while other nations like 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 EU and the US.