25th February 2024
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Pedro Sánchez: ‘I have serious doubts Israel is complying with international law’

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has expressed ‘serious doubts’ that Israel is abiding by international law in its war on Gaza.

‘The footage we are seeing and the growing numbers of children dying, I have serious doubts [Israel] is complying with international humanitarian law,’ said Sánchez on Thursday, noting the high number of casualties in the besieged strip.

‘What we are seeing in Gaza is not acceptable,’ he added, speaking in an interview with Spanish state-owned broadcaster TVE.

Last week Sánchez denounced Israel’s ‘indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians, including thousands of boys and girls’ in the Gaza Strip. ALSO READ: ‘A question of being humane’ – Sánchez stands by Gaza comments that angered Israel.

‘Violence will only lead to more violence,’ he said, while on a visit to the Egyptian side of Gaza’s Rafah crossing on Friday. On his trip, Sánchez also called for a permanent ceasefire. ALSO READ: Sánchez calls for international peace conference and to establish ‘viable Palestinian state’.

On Thursday, Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas entered the seventh day of a temporary truce that has given some respite to the bloodshed in Gaza, but left Palestinians on edge over when the violence may resume.

Spain has angered Tel Aviv with its official comments condemning Israel’s attacks in Gaza and encouraging Europe to discuss recognition of a Palestinian state.

Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen snapped back at Sánchez’s comments last week, saying such sentiments gave ‘terrorism a boost’. Cohen then summoned Spain’s ambassador for a ‘harsh rebuke’.

Despite the diplomatic spat, Sánchez said Spain’s relationship with Israel was ‘correct’ in the TV interview and that ‘friendly countries also have to say things to each other’.

Israel’s seven-week offensive in Gaza killed at least 15,000 people, including over 5,500 children, before the truce was called on 24 November.

During the pause, Hamas has freed at least 74 of the Israeli captives it took in its 7 October attack, while Israel has released 210 Palestinian prisoners – many of whom it had held without charge.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made clear that the on-going truce does not signal an end to the war. He has vowed to ‘return to fighting’ to root out Hamas as soon as ‘this phase of returning our abductees is exhausted’.

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