Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said on Tuesday that the Spanish government believes that innocent victims of Hamas and the Israeli attacks on Gaza are “equally unbearable.”
Albares defended Spain’s position on the Palestine-Israel conflict in a 30-minute speech in Spain’s parliament.
His speech came amid a diplomatic row between Israel and Spain, in which both nations summoned the other’s ambassadors. Israel also recalled its ambassador to Madrid.
Albares announced that Spain would not recall its ambassador to Israel.
“What we are trying to do is help peace, stability and prosperity to return to the Middle East,” he said.
Albares also argued for the need to recognize the State of Palestine.
He emphasized that Spain was the first country in Europe to speak out about the need to help Palestine and to ask for a humanitarian cease-fire, and argued that Spain has stepped up into a leadership position.
His speech was interrupted by protesters waving the Palestinian flag, who later slammed Albares for criticizing “Palestinian resistance” and not condemning “the arms trade with the Zionist country.”
Meanwhile, the conservative Popular Party slammed the Spanish government for comparing a “democratic state” like Israel to a “murderous group” like Hamas. The party’s Vice-Secretary Esteban Gonzalez also said Spain’s position on Israel was harming national interests.
Other left-wing party representatives also spoke calling for Spain to add more pressure on Israel. Gabriel Rufian of the left-wing Catalan separatist party ERC said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “a war criminal just like (Russian President Vladimir) Putin,” and demanded Spain to stop selling weapons to Israel.
Albares said there have been no weapons exports to Israel since Oct. 7.
After the debate, the far-left Podemos, previously a faction within the junior coalition party Sumar, announced it was splitting from the government after Sumar did not let former minister Ione Belarra intervene in defense of Palestine’s rights.