Friday

3rd Feb 2023

Israel objects to Spanish PM presence at anti-war rally

As Spanish foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos lands in the Middle East to support a proposed Franco-Egyptian peace plan, a minor diplomatic row has broken out between Madrid and Tel Aviv over the presence of Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero at an anti-war protest over the weekend.

On Saturday (10 January), Mr Zapatero addressed a demonstration in Ourense, Galicia, calling the Jewish state's actions "excessive" and saying: "It is my duty to call on Israel to implement an immediate cease-fire."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Spanish PM Zapatero criticised Israel's actions in Gaza as 'excessive' (Photo: The Council of the European Union)

The rally, as with others throughout the country, had been organised by NGOs, trade unions and the prime minister's own Socialist Workers' Party, the PSOE.

At a similar demonstration in Madrid, the main banner read "We will stop the genocide," while some protesters later threw stones at the Israeli embassy.

The deputy general secretary of the PSOE, Jose Blanco, said that it had put "objections" to the wording of the banner, but that he "had to be present" nevertheless.

On Sunday, the Israeli embassy issued a statement regretting the presence of members of the governing party at anti-war protests and saying that people demonstrating applied a "double standard" to Israel.

Israel's ambassador to Spain, Rafael Schutz, on Monday criticised Mr Zapatero's words as "unfair," saying in an interview with Cadena Ser: "Nobody says anything" in Spain about rocket attacks from Hamas.

Mr Schutz however rejected the idea that the prime minister's words would result in a diplomatic conflict between the two countries.

The ambassador said that he wanted to separate relations with the government from what had happened during the demonstration in Madrid.

"Demonstrations are one thing and dialogue is another," he said, adding that he recognised that Mr Zapatero had maintained an "authentic preoccupation" with the situation prior to the launch of the offensive, and that he "truly wants to contribute a solution" to the conflict.

Spanish foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, a former European Union Middle East envoy, landed in the region on Monday to push foward the Franco-Egyptian ceasefire proposal.

He was to speak to his Israeli counterpart, Tzipi Livni, in Tel Aviv, and later head to Cairo, Damascus and the West Bank.

Opinion

Europe is giving more aid to Ukraine than you think

'Europeans need to pull their weight in Ukraine. They should pony up more funds.' Such has been the chorus since the start of the war. The problem is the argument isn't borne out by the facts, at least not anymore.

Column

Democracy — is it in crisis or renaissance?

Countries that were once democratising are now moving in the other direction — think of Turkey, Myanmar, Hungary or Tunisia. On the other hand, in autocracies mass mobilisation rarely succeeds in changing political institutions. Think of Belarus, Iran or Algeria.

Latest News

  1. MEPs launch anonymous drop-box for shady lobbying secrets
  2. Hawkish ECB rate-rise 'puts energy transition at risk'
  3. MEPs push for greater powers for workers' councils
  4. How Pavel won big as new Czech president — and why it matters
  5. French official to take on Islamophobia in EU
  6. EU green industry plan could spark 'dangerous subsidy race'
  7. Wolves should be defended, EU ministers urge
  8. EU Commission wants drones for Bulgaria on Turkey border

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Party of the European LeftJOB ALERT - Seeking a Communications Manager (FT) for our Brussels office!
  2. European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights (EPF)Launch of the EPF Contraception Policy Atlas Europe 2023. 8th February. Register now.
  3. Europan Patent OfficeHydrogen patents for a clean energy future: A global trend analysis of innovation along hydrogen value chains
  4. Forum EuropeConnecting the World from the Skies calls for global cooperation in NTN rollout
  5. EFBWWCouncil issues disappointing position ignoring the threats posed by asbestos
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us