Israel to bar Spanish consulate from serving Palestinians

Katz stated that the measure was a direct response to Spain’s recognition of Palestinian statehood earlier this week. He emphasized that this decision would “sever the connection” between Spain’s diplomatic representation in Israel and the Palestinian population

Israel has announced a significant diplomatic move to restrict the Spanish consulate in Jerusalem from providing services to Palestinians, following Spain’s recent recognition of Palestinian statehood. Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, Israel Katz, confirmed the decision, marking a sharp escalation in tensions between the two nations.

Katz stated that the measure was a direct response to Spain’s recognition of Palestinian statehood earlier this week. He emphasized that this decision would “sever the connection” between Spain’s diplomatic representation in Israel and the Palestinian population. The restriction will specifically prevent the Spanish consulate in Jerusalem from offering services to Palestinians residing in the occupied West Bank.

The announcement also comes in the wake of controversial remarks made by Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister, Yolanda Diaz. Diaz recently expressed her support for Palestinian liberation with the phrase, “liberate Palestine from the river to the sea,” a slogan that is widely interpreted as calling for the end of the state of Israel. Katz cited these comments as a contributing factor to Israel’s decision, describing them as inflammatory and unacceptable.

“The recognition of Palestinian statehood by Spain and the subsequent remarks by Deputy PM Diaz have left us with no choice but to take decisive action,” Katz said in a statement. “Such statements not only undermine the peace process but also incite violence and hatred against Israel.”

This move by Israel is likely to further strain diplomatic relations between Israel and Spain, which have been tense over issues related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Spain’s recognition of Palestinian statehood aligns it with several other European countries that have taken similar steps in recent years, despite Israel’s strong opposition.

Spanish officials have yet to formally respond to Israel’s decision. However, the recognition of Palestinian statehood by Spain was hailed by many in the international community as a step towards acknowledging Palestinian aspirations for an independent state.

The prohibition on the Spanish consulate’s activities will have significant implications for Palestinians in the West Bank, many of whom rely on the consulate for various services, including visa applications, legal assistance, and cultural programs. The full impact of this restriction remains to be seen, but it is expected to affect thousands of individuals.

This development underscores the deep and ongoing complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the challenges faced by international actors attempting to navigate the diplomatic landscape. As the situation evolves, all eyes will be on the responses from both Spain and the broader international community.