Israeli minister criticizes Spanish PM’s plan to recognize Palestinian state

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An Israeli minister on Sunday criticized in Madrid Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s plans to recognize a Palestinian state, saying this would be “rewarding” the attack carried out by Hamas against Israel.

Israel’s Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli was speaking at a Madrid meeting of global far-right leaders organised by Spain’s Vox party.

“Unfortunately, the current prime minister of Spain, Sanchez, believes that the Palestinians should be rewarded for the massacre -- that this is the time to give them a state,” he told the meeting.

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Spain has been one of Europe’s most vocal critics of Israel’s Gaza offensive, which began on October 7 after Hamas militants launched their deadly attack into southern Israel.

Sanchez said in March that Spain and Ireland, along with Slovenia and Malta. had agreed to take their first steps towards recognition of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, seeing a two-state solution as essential for lasting peace.

The Socialist premier is due to announce on Wednesday the date on which Madrid will recognise a Palestinian state along with several European Union partners.

“It is important to highlight some crucial facts about the Palestinian Authority,” said Chikli.

“Not a single senior official of the Palestinian Authority has condemned the barbaric massacre of Hamas. Not a single one.”

The unprecedented October 7 attack by Hamas resulted in the death of more than 1,170 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of official Israeli figures.

Out of 252 people taken hostage that day, 128 are still being held inside the Gaza Strip, including 38 who the army says are dead.

Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel launched a blistering retaliatory offensive that has killed more than 35,000 people, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in Gaza.

The Israeli military says 279 soldiers have been killed in the Gaza military campaign since the start of the ground offensive on October 27.

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