Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters rally in Madrid


Protesters held up banners and signs condemning a “genocide” in Gaza and lauding the “resistance” of the Palestinian people….reports Asian Lite News

Thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched through Madrid on Saturday to demand a ceasefire in war-torn Gaza and a severing of ties between Spain and Israel.

Numbering around 4,000 according to the authorities, protesters held up banners and signs condemning a “genocide” in Gaza and lauding the “resistance” of the Palestinian people.

Palestinians have been “crammed” in southern Gaza and “now they are displaced again from one place to another while there are no more safe places,” said 57-year-old Jaldia Abubakra, referring to Israeli evacuation orders in the city of Rafah.

Around 30 organizations called for the rally before the 76th anniversary of what Palestinians call the “Nakba” (“catastrophe“), when 760,000 people fled their homes during the 1948 war that accompanied Israel’s creation.

Spanish students have set up peaceful sit-ins and camps at universities in Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia in recent days, mirroring similar pro-Palestinian campus movements across the United States and Europe.

Earlier this week, Spanish universities expressed willingness to suspend ties with any Israeli educational institution that failed to express “a clear commitment to peace.”

Spain is one of Israel’s harshest critics in Europe and leading efforts to recognize a Palestinian state.

The Gaza war started with Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack on Israel, which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Militants also seized hostages, of whom Israel estimates 128 remain in Gaza, at least 36 of whom the military says are dead.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 34,971 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

‘Spain to recognise Palestine as a state’

Spain, Ireland and other European Union member countries plan to recognize a Palestinian state on May 21, the EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said late on Thursday ahead of an expected UN vote on Friday on a Palestinian bid to become a full member.

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

Asked on local Spanish radio station RNE if May 21 was when Spain, Ireland and other EU countries would recognize a Palestinian state, Borrell said yes, mentioning Slovenia as well.

“This is a symbolic act of a political nature. More than a state, it recognizes the will for that state to exist,” he said, adding that Belgium and other countries would probably follow.

Previously, Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares had said the decision on recognition had been made, although he did not give a date.

International calls for a ceasefire and permanent end to Palestinian-Israeli conflict have grown along with the death toll from Israel’s offensive in Gaza.

Israel has said plans for Palestinian recognition constitute a “prize for terrorism” that would reduce the chances of a negotiated resolution to the Gaza conflict.

On Friday the United Nations General Assembly is set to back a Palestinian bid to become a full UN member by recognizing it as qualified to join and sending the application back to the UN Security Council to “reconsider the matter favorably.”

Ireland’s national broadcaster RTE said on Thursday that Spain, Ireland, Slovenia and Malta had been waiting for the UN vote and were considering a joint recognition on May 21.

A spokesperson for the Spanish Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. There was no immediate comment on the date from the other countries.

Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob said earlier this week his country would recognize Palestine’s statehood by mid-June. Since 1988, 139 out of 193 UN member states have recognized Palestinian statehood.

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