Israel accuses Spain of siding with Hamas after ‘genocide’ accusation

Israel and Spain are embroiled in a diplomatic row after some Spanish ministers were accused by Israel of siding with Hamas in the Middle East conflict, a claim rejected by Madrid.

The dispute arose after left-wing Spanish politicians of the coalition government accused Israel of engaging in the “genocide” of the Palestinian people.
Ione Belarra, the social rights minister who is also the leader of the Unidos Podemos, the far-left junior partner in Spain’s coalition government, has posted several times on social media in support of Palestine while criticising the Israeli occupation.

On Monday, she called on Spain to bring Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the International Criminal Court for war crimes.

Spain’s equality minister, Irene Montero, echoed this appeal, saying the same call was made “a few weeks ago in the case of the [Spanish] aid worker murdered in the war in Ukraine”.

Montero has also posted on social media, declaring: “Violations of international criminal law and war crimes cannot go unpunished. Defending peace and human rights is today the most urgent task of all.”7
The embassy said that it was “deeply worrying” that “certain elements within the Spanish government have opted to align themselves with this terrorism of ISIS type”.

Israeli officials, including Netanyahu, have repeatedly said that “Hamas is ISIS” since the group’s October 7 attacks. The Israeli army also claimed an ISIS flag was found at the site of an assault.

Since Hamas’s incursion, during which the group is accused of killing hundreds of civilians and capturing several others, Israel has blockaded and bombarded the Gaza Strip, the besieged enclave ruled by the Palestinian group.

Hamas has denied intentionally killing civilians, but acknowledged “collateral damage” was possible. It has also admitted to taking several Israelis hostage.

Overall, more than 4,000 people – including Israelis, Palestinians and some foreigners – have been killed in 10 days.
The dispute is certain to strain Israeli-Spanish diplomatic relations and show how the Israel-Hamas war was spilling over into European relations, analysts said.

Spain and Israel only established diplomatic relations in 1986 after decades of no contact during the rule of General Francisco Franco, which ended in his death in 1975.

Israel demanded that Spain’s acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez condemn the “absolutely unmoral” remarks made by his government’s ministers, saying that they endangered the safety of Jewish communities in Spain.Spain recently backed a recent diplomatic deal between Morocco and Israel, ending years of antipathy between Rabat and Jerusalem.

Belarra, the social rights minister, denied the claims made by the Israeli Embassy in Madrid.

“Denouncing this genocide is not ‘aligning with Hamas’,” she said. “It is a democratic obligation. Silence, complicity with terror,” she said in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

Earlier on Saturday, wearing a tracksuit with the red, green, white, and black of the Palestinian flag, the Podemos parliamentary spokesman Pablo Fernandez appeared before a televised press conference on Monday.

Meanwhile, Montero, a senior figure in Podemos, has claimed in a social media post that Netanyahu “asked in 2019 (in the Israeli parliament) to finance Hamas. Violations of international law and war crimes will never count on our complicity or our silence. We defend democracy and life”.

After July’s inconclusive elections, Spain’s acting government is led by the Socialists and supported by two junior far-left parties Unidos Podemos (Unite Together) and Sumar (Add Up) as well as regional groups.

As the Socialists try to form a new government by garnering the support of smaller parties, Sumar, which is led by Deputy Prime Minister Yoland Diaz, called for Spain to recognise Palestine as an independent state.

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