Spanish Minister Accuses Israel of Genocide in Gaza, Calls for International Action
Spanish Minister for Social Rights and leader of the Podemos party, Ione Belarra, accused Israel of perpetrating a planned genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Belarra also criticised the international community for its hypocrisy, contrasting the condemnation of human rights abuses in Ukraine with the deafening silence surrounding the Israeli bombardment in Gaza. She pleaded for an immediate end to the Israeli assault on Gaza, which has already claimed the lives of thousands, including children and mothers who are witnessing the killing of their offspring.
The minister labelled the European Union’s response to the situation as hypocritical. She called for a re-evaluation of diplomatic relations with Israel and suggested that Spain, along with other nations, should sever ties with Israel in protest against its actions in Gaza.
The ongoing crisis has affected Spanish citizens on both sides of the conflict, with the Spanish government working to evacuate its citizens in Gaza.
Belarra’s demands included economic sanctions on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his political circle, whom she labelled “war criminals.” She proposed bringing those responsible for approving bombing campaigns targeting civilian populations before the International Criminal Court, emphasising that their actions constitute a “flagrant breach of human rights.”
Belarra insisted that Spain and other countries sever diplomatic relations with Israel as a political message against its leadership.
Her party, Podemos, is the junior partner in Spain’s left-wing coalition government, led by Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.
The Spanish government advocates for humanitarian aid to be delivered to Gaza, where food, critical health services, and clean water are scarce.
Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares announced that Madrid would double its aid for the civilian population of Gaza, increasing it to $43 million.
Spain’s approach to the conflict differs from some of its European neighbours such as France, which has banned pro-Palestinian marches, and Germany and the United Kingdom, which have imposed restrictions on pro-Palestinian activism. Belarra criticised unnamed European governments for “criminalising” the pro-Palestinian movement and banning demonstrations.
The Middle East conflict has led to political polarisation among European political parties, with widespread protests demanding an immediate ceasefire. In Spain, pro-Palestinian marches have taken place in cities like Madrid and Barcelona without official restrictions, reflecting the sentiments of its substantial Muslim population of approximately two million people.
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