Spain says Israel's 'disproportionate response' in Gaza a global threat


Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez warned Wednesday that Israel's "disproportionate response" in the Gaza war with Hamas risks "destabilizing the Middle East, and as a consequence, the entire world."

Sanchez also insisted that the recognition of a Palestinian state, long resisted by Israel and its key allies, is "in Europe's geopolitical interests."

Sanchez had already raised the subject of statehood during a visit last week to Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, when he indicated that Spain could recognise Palestine as a nation by the end of June.

"The international community cannot help the Palestinian state if it does not recognise its existence," Sanchez told lawmakers Wednesday.

Since the start of the war in Gaza more than six months ago, the socialist premier has pushed for Europe to accord such recognition.

In late March, Sanchez signed a joint statement alongside his Irish, Maltese and Slovenian counterparts announcing they were ready "to recognise Palestine" if that could help bring about a resolution to the conflict.

He is also due to meet with several other leaders, including those of Norway and Portugal, in the coming days to discuss the issue, Spanish government spokeswoman Pilar Alegria said on Tuesday.

Sanchez has been a major critic of Israel since it launched its invasion of Gaza after the deadly October 7 attacks by Hamas that allegedly resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people according to Israeli figures.

Palestinian militants also took more than 250 hostages, 129 of whom remain in Gaza, including 34 the Israeli army says are dead.

Speaking on Wednesday, Sanchez said Israel's "absolutely disproportionate response" had "overturned decades of humanitarian law and threatened to destabilise the Middle East and, as a consequence, the whole world."

Israel's retaliatory offensive has killed at least 33,360 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.

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