31 May, 2024 @ 14:24
1 min read

Israel threatens Spain with closure of its embassy in Jerusalem: Tel Aviv warns Madrid it must have zero contact with the Palestinian Authority

Relations between Israel and Spain have strained in recent weeks

ISRAEL’S foreign minister has threatened to close the Spanish consulate in Jerusalem as relations between the two countries continue to deteriorate in the aftermath of Pedro Sanchez’s recognition of a Palestinian state.

The stark warning is the latest chapter in a diplomatic spat that broke out after the Spanish Prime Minister announced on Tuesday that his government, alongside the leaders of Ireland and Norway, was making the ‘historic’ decision to formally recognise Palestine in an effort to ‘contribute to the achievement of peace between Israelis and Palestinians’ amid a bloody conflict in Gaza.

Israel responded to the announcement by placing restrictions on the Spanish consulate in Jerusalem, the Israeli capital, including a ban on contacting or providing assistance to Palestinian citizens.

In a tweet, foreign minister Israel Katz said: “Today I rejected Jose Manuel Albares’ [the Spanish foreign minister] request to lift the restrictions imposed on the Spanish consulate in Jerusalem”.

He added: “The State of Israel will not remain silent in the face of the Spanish government’s unilateral decision to recognise a Hamas-led Palestinian state and the antisemitic comments by Yolanda Diaz [the Spanish government’s vice-president] to destroy Israel and replace it with a Palestinian state from the river to the sea.

READ MORE: Spain approves recognition of state of Palestine: Madrid declares Jerusalem as the capital and says 1967 borders should return – but Israel accused PM Pedro Sanchez of ‘inciting genocide’

“Any connection between the Spanish consulate in Jerusalem and individuals in the Palestinian Authority poses a threat to Israel’s national security and will be completely prohibited. We will strictly enforce these guidelines – if violations occur, additional measures will be taken, up to the closure of the Spanish consulate in Jerusalem”.

In the tweet, Katz tagged both Alberto Nunez Feijoo, the leader of the Partido Popular (PP), and Santiago Abascal, the leader of the far-right Vox party who visited Israel during the week where he met with Benjamin Netanyahu and vowed to reverse the formal recognition of a Palestinian state if he ever becomes Prime Minister. 

On Tuesday, Katz claimed that Pedro Sanchez was ‘complicit in inciting the murder of the Jewish people and promoting war crimes’ due to his recognition of a Palestinian state and support for Yolanda Diaz, his government’s vice-president who was criticised by the Israeli government for describing the military campaign in Gaza as a ‘real genocide’. 

Last week, the vocal Israeli foreign minister was criticised by his Spanish counterpart, Jose Manuel Albares, after he tweeted a video of a Spanish couple dancing interspersed with clips from the October 7 Hamas attacks which killed over 1,200 people. 

At a meeting of EU foreign ministers earlier this week, Albares called for sanctions against Israel unless it complied with the International Court of Justice’s ruling to stop its offensive in Rafah, southern Gaza. 

Ben Pawlowski

Ben joined the Olive Press in January 2024 after a four-month stint teaching English in Paraguay. He loves the adrenaline rush of a breaking news story and the tireless work required to uncover an eye-opening exclusive. He is currently based in Barcelona from where he covers the city, the wider Catalunya region, and the north of Spain. Send tips to [email protected]

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