Middle East, Europe

Spain initiates process of sanctioning '1st group' of 12 Israeli settlers in West Bank

'Silence and inaction always work against victims,' says foreign minister

Beyza Binnur Donmez  | 04.03.2024 - Update : 04.03.2024
Spain initiates process of sanctioning '1st group' of 12 Israeli settlers in West Bank


Spain on Monday announced that it has initiated a process of sanctioning 12 Israeli settlers in the West Bank.

Speaking to a joint commission for the country's Congress of Deputies, Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said: "The government of Spain has initiated the procedures to sanction a first group of 12 violent settlers."

"We know that silence and inaction always work against the victims," he stressed.

He called for support for the decision of the International Court of Justice, asking the parties to comply with the provisional measures it announced in late January.

Tensions have been high across the West Bank since fighting broke out in Gaza on Oct. 7 between Palestinian groups and Israel.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, 420 Palestinians have been killed and 4,650 others injured in the West Bank since Oct. 7, 2023.

El Pais also reported that Spain’s Foreign Ministry has a list with dozens of names and that there could be a second round of sanctions against extremist Israeli settlers.

Last month, Spain tried to get the EU as a bloc to sanction violent settlers but failed to get the unanimous support needed.

On Monday, Albares also said that Spain supports the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, and that Spain is preparing a second emergency aid package for the agency.

As other countries cut funding after Israel accused a handful of UNRWA staffers with involvement in a Hamas attack, Spain passed a package of €3.5 million ($3.8 million) to help keep the agency afloat. Albares said the second package will be “much larger.”

He requested the EU review compliance with human rights and international humanitarian law based on the EU-Israel Association Agreement.

Albares also called for an urgent cease-fire and emphasized that 88 countries support Spain’s proposal for an international peace conference leading to a genuine two-state solution.

Israel launched a deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip following a cross-border incursion by the Palestinian group Hamas on Oct. 7. The ensuing Israeli bombardment has killed over 30,000 people and injured nearly 72,000 others, with mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

The Israeli war has pushed 85% of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water, and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to ensure its forces do not commit acts of genocide, and guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

*Alyssa McMurtry contributed to this story from Spain

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