The social rights minister of Spain, Ione Belarra, has warned that the European Union (EU) may become complicit in a “genocide” if it does not take concrete measures to stop the hostilities in Gaza. Belarra made the statement on Monday, after a meeting with representatives of Palestinian civil society in Madrid.
Belarra said that the EU should use its diplomatic and economic leverage to pressure Israel to end its “illegal occupation” of Palestinian territories and respect international law. She also called for an immediate ceasefire and humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, where more than 200 people have been killed since May 10.
“The EU cannot remain silent and inactive in the face of this tragedy. We have a responsibility to defend human rights and peace in the world. If we do not act now, we will be complicit in a genocide,” Belarra said.
Belarra’s remarks echoed those of other Spanish officials, who have expressed their solidarity with the Palestinian people and condemned the Israeli attacks on Gaza. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Saturday that he was “deeply saddened” by the loss of innocent lives and urged both sides to de-escalate the situation. Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said on Sunday that Spain supports a two-state solution and a negotiated end to the conflict.
Spain is one of the EU member states that have called for an urgent meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers to discuss the crisis in the Middle East. The meeting is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, May 18. The EU has also expressed its concern over the violence and called for an end to the escalation. However, the bloc has not taken any concrete actions or sanctions against Israel, which is one of its main allies and trading partners in the region.