Ione Belarra (centre) of Podemos leads the Sumar march. EFE
Government in row with Israel over ministers' comments

Government in row with Israel over ministers' comments

Left-wing grouping Sumar, which has members in the acting Spanish cabinet, led a march in support of Palestine last Sunday



Friday, 20 October 2023, 16:34

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Spain’s acting coalition government has revealed internal splits this week over the reaction to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the more left-wing members within it.

On Monday there was a harsh exchange of diplomatic messages between Israel and Spain after repeated criticisms from some members of the Sumar group within the coalition of Israel’s military response to the Hamas terrorist attacks.

Last Sunday, members of Sumar, including Podemos, staged a march in Madrid in defence of Palestine.

Israel’s ambassador to Madrid, Rodica Radian-Gordon, accused “certain elements” within the [Spanish] government of “aligning themselves” with “ISIS-type” terrorism and statements that could encourage antiterrorism,

Spain, seen as an ally of Israel, returned fire with its own communiqué where the foreign minister José Manuel Albares, of the PSOE, accused the Israeli statement of containing “untruths” and “unfounded insinuations”.

While Spain and the Israeli embassy opted to “turn the page” by Wednesday this week and the row was calming, the acting social rights minister, Ione Belarra of Podemos urged acting PM Pedro Sánchez to suspend diplomatic relations with the country, to sanction its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and to impose an arms embargo.

Basque hostage

The Israeli foreign ministry confirmed this week that Spanish citizen Iván Illarramendi, from the Basque Country, who had been unaccounted for since the Hamas attack on 7 October, is reportedly among those being held hostage by the terrorist group.

The Spanish mission in Lebanon, which is part of the UN peacekeeping force of 3,500 troops has acknowledged attacks along the 120-kilometre border with Israel

The head of the 650-strong military contingent said it had reinforced security since the Hamas attack from Gaza.

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