|Spain Rescinds Decision to Open Honorary Consulate in Hamas-ruled Gaza|
April 25, 2013 – New York – AJC welcomed Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo’s decision to rescind a plan to establish an honorary consular office in Hamas-ruled Gaza. Spain maintains a consulate in Jerusalem for relations with the Palestinian Authority.
“Such a step would have only given unwarranted recognition to the terrorist Hamas regime in Gaza, while undermining the Palestinian Authority and jeopardizing the chance to advance the peace process,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. AJC had expressed “bewilderment” in a letter to Foreign Minister Garcia-Margallo, following the original announcement to establish an Honorary Spanish Consular Office in Gaza.
Establishing an honorary consulate in Gaza “will not advance the cause of peace, but will instead contribute to legitimize a government whose vision and practices contradict Spanish values and interests,” Harris wrote in the AJC letter to the Foreign Minister Garcia-Margallo.
The AJC letter emphasized that Hamas has continued its missile attacks on Israel, incites hatred of Israel in Gaza schools, and implemented discriminatory measures against women and religious minorities.
AJC has longstanding relations with Spain, and last met with the foreign minister in Madrid in October 2012. The letter was sent in coordination with the Federacion de Comunidades Israelitas de España (FCIE), the main umbrella body for Spain’s Jewish community and an AJC international partner. The foreign minister responded to the letter this week, stressing the importance he attaches to the ongoing dialogue with AJC and addressing the substantive concerns.