June 13, 2024

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The European Union and Israel are in a war of words as relations deteriorate before Spain and Ireland recognize a Palestinian state

The European Union and Israel are in a war of words as relations deteriorate before Spain and Ireland recognize a Palestinian state

BRUSSELS (AFP) – Relations between the European Union and Israel have deteriorated on the eve of the presidential elections Diplomatic recognition of the Palestinian state by EU members Ireland and Spain, With Madrid’s suggestion that it be necessary to consider imposing sanctions on Israel due to its ongoing attacks in the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz told Spain that its consulate in Jerusalem would not be allowed to assist the Palestinians.

Meanwhile, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, a Spaniard, has thrown his full weight in support of the International Criminal Court, whose prosecutor is seeking an arrest warrant against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others, including Hamas leaders.

“The court prosecutor was severely intimidated and accused of anti-Semitism, as is always the case when anyone does something that the Netanyahu government does not like,” Borrell said. “The word anti-Semitism is very heavy. It’s very important.”

Angry words abounded on Monday, as Katz accused Spain of “rewarding terrorism” by recognizing a Palestinian state and said that “the days of the Inquisition are over.” He pointed to the notorious Spanish institution begun in the 15th century to preserve the Roman Catholic faith that forced Jews and Muslims to flee, convert to Catholicism, or, in some cases, face death.

“No one will force us to change our religion or threaten our existence — those who harm us, we will harm them in return,” Katz said.

Although the European Union and its member states have been steadfast in condemning the Hamas-led attack on October 7, in which militants stormed the Gaza border into Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking some 250 hostage, the EU has been equally critical The Israeli attack that followed. The Israeli attack on Gaza led to the deaths of more than 35,000 Palestinians, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health.

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The latest attacks focused on Rafah, where Palestinian health workers said Israeli air strikes killed at least three people. 35 people on Sunday It hit the tents of displaced people and left “many” others trapped under the smoldering rubble.

Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto said that such strikes would have long-term repercussions. “With this choice, Israel is spreading hatred and rooting hatred that will include their children and grandchildren. I would have preferred to make another decision,” he told SKY TG24.

The strikes came after R It is the Supreme Court of the United NationsOn Friday, the International Court of Justice called on Israel to stop its attack on Rafah immediately, even if it did not go so far as to order a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albarez said: “Israel must stop its attack in Rafah.”

Spain, Ireland and Norway, which are not members of the European Union, intend to formally announce their recognition of the Palestinian state on Tuesday. Their joint announcement last week sparked an angry reaction from Israeli authorities, who summoned the countries’ ambassadors in Tel Aviv to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, where they were filmed showing videos of the October 7 Hamas attack and kidnapping.

Albarez criticized the treatment of the ambassadors. He said: “We reject what does not fall within diplomatic courtesy and the norms of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.”

He added, “But at the same time, we also agreed that we will not fall into any provocation that will distance us from our goal.” He added: “Our goal is to recognize the State of Palestine tomorrow, and to make every possible effort to reach a permanent ceasefire as soon as possible, as well as, in the end, to achieve that final peace.”

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Coleen Barry contributed from Milan.

Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war