MADRID – Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares has warned that cutting off financial aid to Palestine could be “counterproductive.”
He is responding to comments from Olivér Várhelyi, a European commissioner, who previously announced that financial aid to Palestine would be immediately suspended – a decision that was later reversed and left “under review”.
Spanish position in the European consultations
Albares will be the first to speak in a video conference between the foreign ministers of the European Union. He is clear about the Spanish position. “We cannot equate a terrorist group like Hamas with the entire Palestinian people, a population with enormous needs.” He emphasises that aid must continue and that stopping it would be counterproductive.
The minister notes that the Palestinians themselves look at Hamas’ attacks “with horror” and are “afraid” of the consequences. Albares added, “more aid will be needed, not less, given the unfolding humanitarian situation.”
Evacuation of Spanish citizens in Israel
Even though there are no plans to evacuate Spanish residents in Israel, Albares confirmed that the Spanish government is preparing a military operation to bring around a hundred Spaniards there for tourism or business back to Spain.
Response to criticism
Responding to criticism from the Popular Party (PP) over the lack of decisiveness following Hamas’ attacks, the minister stressed that all ministers are “committed to peace in the Middle East.” He also stated that the government has “no neutrality whatsoever”: “We express our strong condemnation of what is a terrorist act, but also the need to continue providing assistance to the Palestinian people.”