Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Wednesday urged Israel to end the “indiscriminate killing of Palestinians” in Gaza, in his sharpest criticism of Israel since war against Hamas broke out over a month ago.
“We demand an immediate ceasefire on the part of Israel in Gaza and strict compliance with international humanitarian law, which today is clearly not respected,” he said during a debate in parliament ahead of a vote in confidence on Thursday in which he is poised to be re-appointed for another term.
“Let there be no doubt, we stand with Israel in rejecting and its response to the terrorist attack that this country suffered in October,” the Socialist premier added before calling for the “immediate release” of the hostages kidnapped by Hamas.
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“But with the same clarity we reject the indiscriminate killing of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank,” he said.
Spain has maintained that Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas after the Palestinian militant group attacked southern Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people and taking over 200 hostages.
But like the United States and other allies, it has expressed increasing concern over the mounting death toll in the battered enclave, where local health officials say over 11,300 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since the conflict started.
Sanchez is relying on the votes of the far-left - which repeatedly pushed him to adopt a harder line against Israel’s campaign in Gaza - in order to be reappointed for another term following an inconclusive snap general election in July.
Shortly after he spoke the leader of far-left party Podemos, acting social rights minister Ione Belarra, reiterated on social media her call for Spain to break diplomatic ties with Israel and impose economic sanctions on the country.
“We need much more than words in an investiture debate to halt the planned genocide that Israel in carrying out in Palestine,” she wrote on X, formerly called Twitter.