Madrid (Reuters) – Spain opposes the proposed suspension of European Union aid to the Palestinian territories, the Spanish Acting Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said on Tuesday.
Indeed, Palestinian territories will likely need more aid in the near future after Hamas’ Saturday attack on Israel and Israel’s subsequent bombardment of the Gaza Strip, he said.
“This cooperation must continue; we cannot confuse Hamas, which is in the list of EU’s terrorist groups, with the Palestinian population, or the Palestinian Authority or the United Nation’s organisations on the ground,” Albares said in an interview with Spanish radio Cadena SER.
EU foreign ministers will meet to discuss the issue on Tuesday after European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi said on Monday on social media platform X that all payments had been suspended.
The European Commission contradicted Varhelyi’s statement, saying that payments were not suspended and that it was merely reviewing aid to Palestinian territories.
Even though countries such as Austria have announced the end of funding to Palestinian territories, others such as Spain consider the aid flow crucial for the civilian population.
Suspending aid would be “counterproductive”, Albares said.
In a separate interview with TV channel Antena 3, the minister said the country was preparing a military plane to evacuate Spaniards who wanted to leave Israel.
Several international airlines have reduced or suspended flight services with Tel Aviv, affecting hundreds of flights.
IAG (ICAG.L) -owned Iberia and Vueling cancelled their flights to Tel Aviv until Sunday.
Air Europa, another Spanish airline, canceled a flight to Israel scheduled for Tuesday and plans to evaluate whether to resume flying from Wednesday.