Home » Pedro Sánchez forms a pole of resistance in the EU against Israel’s war in Gaza

Pedro Sánchez forms a pole of resistance in the EU against Israel’s war in Gaza

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Pedro Sánchez forms a pole of resistance in the EU against Israel’s war in Gaza

Pedro Sánchez takes risks again in international politics. In an unprecedented initiative, the President of the Government has asked the European Union to “urgently” review the agreements it has with Israel in economic and political matters for their possible violations of International Humanitarian Law in the Gaza war.

In a carta of three pages, signed by Sánchez together with the Prime Minister of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, request the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to study the clause on respect for human rights of the EU-Israel Association Agreement. And if it is found that it is not being complied with, appropriate measures will be proposed. There is, they say, risk of humanitarian catastropheeven greater than that already produced since the start of the offensive in October, due to the imminent threat of Israeli military operations in Rafah.

The movement is reminiscent of last November, when during his trip to the Middle East Sánchez disgraced the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, the ‘unbearable’ death of civilians in Gaza. That unleashed a diplomatic escalation by Israel, which went so far as to temporarily withdraw (call for consultations) its ambassador in Spain.

But now the global political moment has changed, and Sánchez is no longer as alone as then. The Gaza war produces a daily death toll unprecedented in modern wars: nearly 30,000 people in four months, mostly women and children, according to Palestinian authorities. US President Joe Biden, Israel’s main ally and protector, is already talking about a “excessive” Israeli offensivewhich causes “many innocent people to have a hard time and die and that has to stop.”

Pole of resistance to the Israeli offensive

Sánchez takes months trying to weave a pole of resistance in the EU to ask Israel and Hamas for a permanent ceasefire, the release of the hostages and, subsequently, promote a Palestinian state. The high representative of European foreign policy, Josep Borrell, has been on his side from the beginning. This week, visibly enraged, Borrell has asked the United States and, in general, the international community, to stop sending weapons to Israel if you want to avoid more civilian casualties.

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The German Foreign Minister, a staunch defender of Israel, has also railed against these plans to attack southern Gaza, where more than 1.2 million Palestinians live as refugees.

Palestinian diplomatic sources emphasize to El Periódico de España, from Prensa Ibérica, that The letter arrives at the most opportune timegiven the threat of an Israeli offensive against Rafah, which could cause a massacre greater than those already seen in the north and center of the Strip.

Israeli diplomatic sources refuse for the moment to make any comment on Sánchez’s letter to the Commission.

“The bravest posture”

The President of the Government’s team highlights that Spain has maintained “From the beginning [del conflicto] the bravest posture” and little by little they have been “aligning” with it most countries. A ratification of their positions over time, which is why they now intend to take a leap to continue leading them: “Move from words to actions.”

“We must act now and there are instruments,” the Executive maintains to justify its unprecedented request. An urgency that they argue because the announcement of the Israeli offensive in Rafah represents a “turning point” and the situation “is unsustainable”. Hence, they consider that they cannot limit themselves to continuing to invoke respect for International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and international human rights law “and do nothing.”

There are risks, and Moncloa sources acknowledged after sending the letter that It is likely that the European Commission does not feel at all well The initiative. However, these same sources indicate that, beyond Ireland, another series of European countries fully converge with their demand. Among them, Belgium, which holds the current presidency of the Council of the EU. In the case of Portugal, its current alignment will largely depend on the majorities that come out of the polls in the early elections on March 10.

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Together with this pole of countries, Spain intends to promote a international peace conference, as agreed by the European Council on October 26, at the proposal of our country. To promote a ceasefire and sit at a negotiating table to overcome the conflict between Israel and Palestine, with the Palestinian National Authority as an interlocutor. It is for this reason that, according to government sources, they will put aside for the moment the attempt to carry out unilateral recognition of the Palestinian State. In fact, one of the objectives of the international peace conference would be to Israel and Palestine negotiate on the two-state solution.

Sánchez’s collaborators do not rule out promoting a unilateral declaration if this initiative fails, but they prefer to wait and “not waste that bullet.” Use it as a pressure mechanism. The same sources explain that recognition of the Palestinian State “would now be the easiest.” Especially given the current context, which would moderate the diplomatic crisis with Israel, but they recognize limited effects. They cite Sweden as an example, which took this step and “now no one remembers.”

Last December, Sánchez took advantage of an appearance in Congress to review the current presidency to defend that “at some point during the legislature we will have to address the recognition of the Palestinian State by the Cortes Generales.” Already during his trip to Israel, Palestine and Egypt last November, the head of the Executive did not rule out unilateral recognition if the EU did not take the step. “It would be worthwhile for many EU members to do it together, but if that does not happen, Spain will of course make its own decisions.“, he assured then. The strategy now involves saving this bullet and first exploring other avenues to promote a resolution of the conflict.

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