Middle East

Spain denies port of call to ship carrying arms to Israel

Spain has refused permission for a ship carrying arms to Israel to dock at a Spanish port, its foreign minister, José Manuel Albares, said on Thursday.

“This is the first time we have done this because it is the first time we have detected a ship carrying a shipment of arms to Israel that wants to call at a Spanish port,” he told reporters in Brussels.

“This will be a consistent policy with any ship carrying arms to Israel that wants to call at Spanish ports. The foreign ministry will systematically reject such stopovers for one obvious reason: the Middle East does not need more weapons, it needs more peace.”

Albares did not provide details on the ship but the transport minister, Óscar Puente, said it was the Marianne Danica that had requested permission to call at the south-eastern port of Cartagena on 21 May.

El País said the Danish-flagged ship was carrying 27 tonnes of explosive material from Chennai in India to the port of Haifa in Israel.

The announcement comes during a row between prime minister Pedro Sánchez’s Socialists and his coalition partners, the leftwing Sumar alliance, over another ship, the Borkum, which is due to dock in Cartagena on Friday.

Pro-Palestinian groups say the Borkum is carrying arms to Israel, prompting Sumar to demand that it be turned away. But Puente said the Borkum was transporting military material to the Czech Republic, not Israel.

Spain has been one of Europe’s most critical voices about Israel’s Gaza offensive and is working to rally other European capitals behind the idea of recognising a Palestinian state.

Spain halted arms sales to Israel after it launched a military onslaught against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

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The Gaza war began on 7 October when Hamas militants stormed into southern Israel, resulting in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Israel’s military retaliation has killed more than 35,000 people, mostly civilians, according to the health ministry in Gaza.


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