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Spanish PM Promises To Officially Recognise Palestinian Statehood by July

Spanish PM
Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez with Saudi Crown Mohammed bin Salman. Source: X

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has stated that Spain will officially recognise a Palestinian state by July. The move, which has raised eyebrows within the EU, was confirmed by foreign minister José Manuel Albares. In a media conference on Wednesday, he said. “We need a real Palestinian state. The Palestinian people must not be condemned to forever be refugees.”

Spain has traditionally been much closer to the Palestinian cause than many of its European counterparts. According to euronews the Spanish parliament passed a non-binding resolution in 2014 in favour of recognizing Palestinian statehood. But then prime minister Mariano Rajoy and his successor, Socialist party leader Pedro Sánchez had then maintained that official recognition should only happen in concert with the rest of the European Union.

The fact that Spain should go it alone is not surprising. The country has been an outlier among the European Union’s major nations on the war in Gaza. The Spanish prime minister has been one of the most forceful critics within the EU of Israel’s military operations in Gaza. This position has hardened after he demanded explanations from Israeli authorities following the deaths of seven people working for Spanish celebrity chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen. According to france24.com, in a recent tour of the Middle East, the Spanish leader made it a point to give an interview to Al Jazeera where he expressed “doubts” that Israel was meeting its international obligations. Israel has contemplated banning Al Jazeera from the country.

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Israel had recalled its ambassador from Spain in December last year after the Spanish prime minister protested what he called the “indiscriminate killing of Palestinians” during its military operation in the Gaza Strip.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who was formerly Spanish foreign minister, said in a press statement of Israel’s bombing of Gaza in January. “Which are the other solutions they have in mind? To make all the Palestinians leave? To kill them? Twenty-five thousand already in Gaza, 70% women and children. Certainly, the way of trying to destroy Hamas is not the way they are doing, because they are seeding the hate for generations.”

Spain and Ireland are the harshest critics of Israel within Europe. In 1980, Ireland became the first country within Europe to call for Palestinian statehood. Only ten of the EU’s 27 members currently recognize the right of Palestinians to a state.