Spain's PM calls on EU to recognise Palestinian state

AFP - [email protected]
Spain's PM calls on EU to recognise Palestinian state
Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas (C) shakes hands with Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (R) and Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez during their meeting in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on November 23, 2023. (Photo by Alaa BADARNEH / POOL / AFP)

The European Union should recognise a Palestinian state since this would help end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and "stabilise" the region, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said on Thursday.


"It is obvious that we must find a political solution to put an end to this crisis and this solution requires, in my opinion, the recognition of the Palestinian state," the Socialist premier said during an interview with Spanish public television TVE.

"It is in Europe's interest to address this issue out of moral conviction because what we are seeing in Gaza is not acceptable", and also for "a geopolitical objective -- to stabilise a region", he added.


When he was sworn in for a new term this month, Sánchez said his foreign policy priority would be to "work in Europe and in Spain to recognise the Palestinian state".

If there is no consensus among the EU's 27 member states, Sánchez has said Madrid does not rule out unilaterally recognising a Palestinian state.

READ MORE: 'Unbearable death toll' - Spain gives voice to Palestinian cause in EU

A handful of smaller European countries have taken the step, mainly east European nations like Hungary, Poland and Romania that did so before they joined the EU.

But until now no large member of the bloc has made the move, which would make Spain a pioneer.

Spain's parliament voted in 2014 in favour of a resolution calling for recognition of Palestine as a state.

The vote was non-binding, however, and there has been no follow up.

"The situation has changed," Sánchez told TVE, adding that Arab nations did not understand the EU's position.

"During all these years, we have seen how Israel systematically occupied Palestinian territory," he added in a reference to Israeli settlement-

According to Amnesty International: "Israel's policy of settling its civilians in occupied Palestinian territory and displacing the local population contravenes fundamental rules of international humanitarian law."

Palestinians say the settlements jeopardise their goal of a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Israel last week summoned Spain's ambassador over criticisms Sánchez made of the Israeli offensive on Gaza during a visit to the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt on Friday.

Israel accused Madrid of supporting "terrorism". "Friendly nations must tell the truth," Sánchez said before recalling he had unequivocally condemned the October 7th attack by Hamas on Israeli civilians and soldiers.

"But we must tell Israel with the same conviction" that it must respect international law, he added.

READ MORE: Spain's PM Sánchez stands by Gaza comments that angered Israel


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