Diplomatic row deepens between Israel and Spain

25th July 2006, Comments 0 comments

25 July 2006, MADRID – Israel’s ambassador to Spain on Tuesday demanded a rectification from the ruling socialist party for comments over the war in Lebanon.

25 July 2006

MADRID – Israel’s ambassador to Spain on Tuesday demanded a rectification from the ruling socialist party for comments over the war in Lebanon.

Victor Harel said a "clear rectification" was essential by the end of the day in order to create good relations again between Spain and Israel.

Harel was unhappy about comments made by the socialist PSOE party’s secretary Jose Blanco on Monday in a summary of the PSOE position on the war. Blanco had criticised the "disproportionate response of Israel" to terrorist attacks by Hizbullah and accused Israel of "indiscriminate attacks" on civilians in Lebanon.

"It’s not attacking Hizbullah but a whole country and its inhabitants", said Blanco. "In this crisis the civilian deaths are not collateral damage but an intended objective".

After criticism from the ambassador, on Tuesday, Blanco toned down his position, stating his remarks meant that "the disproportionate way in which Israel has responded to the Hizbullah terrorist attacks inevitably cause civilian deaths".

However, Harel said Blanco’s explanation was insufficient. He said contact had been made at "a high level" with Spain’s foreign ministry. He said there had to be a rectification given the seriousness of the accusation. "They are accusing us of killing civilians indiscriminately, in other words, killing civilians intentionally," he said.

Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero on Tuesday afternoon denied "completely" that relations between the two countries had changed and offered no retraction or apology for the socialist party position. He said the socialist party spoke through Blanco and said it was incredible he had been accused of being anti-semitic after being photographed wearing the Palestinian headscarf at a youth conference.

The Israeli ambassador and the conservative PP party criticised Zapatero for the photograph, which came after critical comments made by Zapatero against Israel’s military action.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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