Home World “The Spanish government must reconsider the aid it provides to UNRWA”

“The Spanish government must reconsider the aid it provides to UNRWA”

“The Spanish government must reconsider the aid it provides to UNRWA”

Israeli Ambassador to Madrid Rodica Radian-Gordon (Bucharest, 1957) assures in this interview with LA RAZÓN that the war in Gaza will lessen in intensity if Hamas releases the 136 hostages. The diplomat had several disagreements over the position of Pedro Sánchez’s government, which questioned whether Israel was complying with international law due to the high number of victims in Gaza. The ambassador was summoned to Israel for consultations and left the position in Madrid vacant for 40 days until the diplomatic crisis was resolved. Today it is said that the government of Spain “Has no hostile attitude towards Israel”However, calls on the socialist president to reconsider the economic aid that Spain is providing to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA, as twelve of its employees are linked to the October 7 attacks in which more than 1,400 Israelis died.

Is the Israeli population still traumatized by the October 7 attack?

People are still experiencing the trauma of October 7th and we also have many soldiers who died during these almost four months of fighting. We have more than 550 dead soldiers and around 5,000 wounded soldiers. People experience this tension all the time knowing that 136 people are still in the hands of Hamas. In Israel you hear a lot of stories about the freed hostages, especially women, who are very tough. On the other hand, the people of Israel see what the army finds in Gaza, with a vast network of tunnels and war materials.

Did you think the war would drag on this long?

We are seeing something that no one could have imagined, and it is a terrorist organization that is completely intertwined with the civilian population. The large network of tunnels in Gaza and the cynicism of using civilian facilities as human shields are very serious. And I think of UNRWA, a supposedly neutral organization that has become a tool of Hamas, which has infiltrated local workers in the Gaza Strip. Extreme efforts must be made to eradicate Hamas’s military capabilities and power in the Gaza Strip. The fact that the war dragged on for so long shows how difficult it is to fight in an urban area where many civilians live.

Israel has expressed doubts about the death toll in Gaza. Do you think fewer people died than Hamas says?

The published figures come directly from Hamas offices. We don’t know if they are correct. They also don’t tell us how many are civilians and how many are Hamas people. We know that at least 10,000 of the dead are Hamas people, often portrayed as civilian victims. On the other hand, many died not because of the Israeli army, but because of the failures of Hamas rockets that hit areas of the Gaza Strip or because Hamas did not allow civilians to leave. Part of this fight is to delegitimize Israel as a state. It is not only a fight against a terrorist entity, but part of this fight is also a war of perceptions in which, unfortunately, we are not achieving the expected successes.

Do you think the Spanish government should cut funding to UNRWA?

There are already more than 20 governments that have done this, which shows that they take what we say seriously. UNRWA is an exception from the start because it is the only UN agency that deals only with a specific population, originally consisting of the Arab refugees from the war of ’48. UNRWA supposedly had to take care of giving them education and health, but what has happened over the years is that UNRWA has maintained an artificial situation with refugees. In the schools of the Gaza Strip, young Gazans are being incited to hatred. We must review everything UNRWA has done in Gaza and the West Bank.

Has the Spanish government adopted a hostile attitude towards the Israeli government?

I do not believe that Spain has a hostile attitude towards Israel. I hope that the Spanish government will reconsider its aid to UNRWA and pay attention to the work of this organization. The UN opened an investigation after we identified 12 people involved in the October 7 attacks. We know that there are many more people identified with Hamas working for UNRWA in Gaza. You have to do a very clear investigation. What Israel is trying to say is that perhaps it is time to dismantle UNRWA and offer assistance through other organizations that are not as penetrated by Hamas.

Israel’s main goal is to eliminate Hamas. Don’t you think that the deaths of so many Palestinians in Gaza will give Hamas or some other organization more support from the Palestinians in the future?

Things are more complex. The population of Gaza has been held hostage by Hamas since 2007. The people of Gaza are very shocked by everything that is happening and there are already some voices criticizing Hamas from within. But the most important thing is to change education. Now we see that some of the books that young people are studying there are full of hatred towards Israel. In order to bring about reconciliation, a change in mentality is required because they have great hatred towards Israel. What is not understood in Israel is that the population attacked on October 7th was precisely the one who tried to help the residents of the Gaza Strip, the one who built bridges with the Palestinians. This has left deep scars and now we don’t know what to do next for the Palestinians. The question is whether we have a partner on the other side.

Do you think the Israeli government’s response to the October 7 Hamas attacks would have been the same if another prime minister had ruled instead of Netanyahu?

Definitely. The vast majority of Israel believes the government’s response was appropriate. People know that Hamas’ goal is to destroy us. That is why we face a fight for survival, and why the war is widely understood among Israelis.

Are you concerned that Israel will be viewed by other countries as a genocidal state and could be brought before the International Criminal Court?

It is a very serious accusation that contributes to the expansion of anti-Israel propaganda in the world. It has a lot to do with the delegitimization of Israel as a state. It is worrying that South Africa has taken this step to take Israel to the International Criminal Court given South Africa’s ties to Hamas. The International Criminal Court does not consider Israel to be committing genocide because there is no call for an immediate ceasefire among the precautionary measures. In addition, Israel has provided ample evidence of the measures it has taken to protect the local population in Gaza and has allowed humanitarian aid into the Strip, often going to Hamas.

Do you think European countries might withdraw their support for Israel if the war drags on and the death toll rises?

So far we are seeing support and solidarity with Israel. The reaction that Israel had to take to defend itself is understandable. If the negotiations progress and bear fruit and the hostages are released, I believe the intensity of the war will decrease. We have destroyed 75% of Hamas’s military capacity. The next few days could mark a turning point.

Is Iran interested in an all-party regional war against Israel?

There is no doubt that Iran is behind the provocations seeking a regional war by supporting its “proxies” (allies) in Iraq and Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen. The United States’ deployment of a naval force in the region and an international coalition in the Red Sea sends an important message. Nobody wants a regional war. The war in Gaza is a struggle to try to change the geopolitics of the region. Without a doubt, we are experiencing very dangerous moments.

Who will govern Gaza after the war?

This needs to be negotiated. It’s premature to think about it. Israel is fully focused on this war against Hamas, which is a real tragedy for them, but also for Israel, as it is a very bloody conflict.

Did Hamas attacks end the Abraham Accords for the development and peace of the region?

In recent years, Israel has taken important steps to create a more prosperous region with the Abraham Accords with Arab countries. Relations with the Emirates are a very living example of what the Middle East can be in terms of development and hope. This attack by Hamas was also an attempt to destroy everything we are building, so that there is no hope in the region and the people are desperate.

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