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24 May, 2024 12:58

Israel retaliates against EU state over ‘anti-Semitic’ remarks

West Jerusalem has restricted Spanish consular access after a comment by Madrid’s deputy prime minister
Israel retaliates against EU state over ‘anti-Semitic’ remarks

Israel has banned Spain’s consulate in Jerusalem from providing services to Palestinians from the West Bank, Foreign Minister Israel Katz has announced. He said the move was in retaliation for a recent “anti-Semitic” comment by Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Diaz.

In a video address on Wednesday, Diaz commented on Madrid’s decision to recognize the state of Palestine on May 28, saying: “Palestine will be free from the river to the sea” – a slogan used by Palestinian militant groups and pro-Palestinian activists worldwide. Critics consider it to be anti-Semitic.

In a coordinated policy change, the governments of Ireland and Norway also pledged formal recognition of Palestine next Tuesday.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Friday, Katz wrote: “In response to Spain’s recognition of a Palestinian state and the antisemitic call by Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister to not just recognize a Palestinian state but to ‘liberate Palestine from the river to the sea,’ I have decided to sever the connection between Spain’s representation in Israel and the Palestinians, and to prohibit the Spanish consulate in Jerusalem from providing services to Palestinians from the West Bank.”

Rodica Radian-Gordon, Israel’s ambassador to Spain, also took to X to accused Diaz of using “Hamas’ motto” and making a “clear call for the elimination of Israel.”

“Anti-Semitic proclamations can have no place in a democratic society, and it is absolutely intolerable that they have been made by the vice president of the government [deputy prime minister].”

In a series of posts on X, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez rejected Israel’s claim that those recognizing the state of Palestine are siding with the terrorists. He explained that Spain merely seeks to “relaunch a political process that would put an end to violence… in the Middle East.”

“We are on the right side of history,” Sanchez insisted.

Following the announcements made by Spain, Ireland, and Norway on Wednesday, the Israeli Foreign Ministry summoned their respective ambassadors, also recalling its own representatives from the European countries for consultations.

According to Ynet, Israel is considering not sending its envoys back, thus lowering the level of relations with the three nations.

While scores of countries, including Russia and China, already recognize Palestine, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to prevent the creation of the state.