Israeli minister blasts Spain’s plans to recognise Palestinian state

An Israeli minister in Madrid on Sunday criticised Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s plans to recognise 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 in the Spanish capital at a meeting of global far-right leaders organised by Spain’s Vox party called Viva 24.

“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.

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 expected 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 Agence France-Presse tally of official Israeli figures.

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez in Barcelona, Spain on Saturday. Photo: EPA-EFE

Also at Sunday’s meeting, Spain said it was recalling its ambassador from Buenos Aires after Argentine President Javier Milei called Sanchez’s wife “corrupt”.

The European Union also stepped into the row, its foreign policy chief Josep Borrell condemning Milei’s remarks.

The anti-establishment Argentine was the star speaker at Viva 24, which also featured Italy’s Giorgia Meloni and France’s Marine Le Pen.

During his speech, Milei referred to Sanchez’s wife, Begona Gomez, as a “corrupt woman”.

He did not identify Sanchez or his wife by name, but he did allude to a cooling-off period that Spain’s Socialist premier took last month to decide whether to resign after a court opened a preliminary investigation into his wife for suspected influence peddling and corruption.

Let us not let the dark, black, satanic, atrocious, horrible carcinogenic side that is socialism prevail over us
Argentine President Javier Milei

Sanchez has dismissed the allegations against Gomez as part of a campaign of political harassment by the right.

“The global elites don’t realise how destructive it can be to implement the ideas of socialism… even if you have a corrupt wife, let’s say, it gets dirty, and you take five days to think about it,” Milei said.

Just hours later, Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares announced that Madrid would recall for consultations its ambassador to Argentina, and demanded a public apology from Milei.

“It is unacceptable that a sitting president visiting Spain should insult Spain and the Spanish prime minister, a fact that breaks with all diplomatic customs,” Albares said in a televised address.

The recall of an ambassador for consultations is one of the strongest measures in diplomacy and the final step before the severing of diplomatic relations.

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares. Photo: EPA-EFE

Milei responded to Spain’s move by reposting a video of his speech on social media, along with the comment “here are my words at Viva 24 that make you so uncomfortable”.

Milei, who began his visit to Spain on Friday, was not scheduled to meet Sanchez or King Felipe VI during his stay, as would be customary during a visit by a foreign leader.

During a speech on his first day in Spain, Milei denounced what he called “satanic” socialism.

“Let us not let the dark, black, satanic, atrocious, horrible carcinogenic side that is socialism prevail over us,” he said, in a talk about his books on libertarian ideas.

He picked up the theme again on Sunday during his address to the rally at Madrid’s Vistalegre congress centre, which was attended by some 11,000 people according to Vox.

“I will lead by example and show the world that a government with our ideas can succeed. It is up to me to show them how sinister and nefarious socialism is,” he said.

A shuttered window of the Spanish embassy in Argentina after Spain recalled its ambassador. Photo: Reuters

The event came ahead of elections to the European Parliament from June 6-9.

Surveys suggest those will result in major gains for Europe’s far right, giving it more influence in Brussels.

Milei, a self-declared “anarcho-capitalist” won elections last November vowing to reduce the Argentine deficit to zero.

To that end, he has instituted an austerity programme that has seen the government slash subsidies for transport, fuel and energy.

French far-right National Rally party leader Marine Le Pen in Madrid, Spain on Sunday. Photo: AP

Le Pen, France’s far-right standard-bearer and former presidential candidate, stressed the need for tighter limits on immigration in her speech, a central theme of European far-right parties.

“Entire areas of my country, France, are being submerged by immigration,” she said.

In video messages, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban urged “patriots” to “occupy Brussels”, while Meloni, Italy’s premier, called for a “mobilisation” to bring about “change in Europe”.

In a message posted on X, Sanchez said the “international far-right” was meeting in Madrid “because Spain represents what they hate: feminism, social justice, labour dignity”.



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