Spain’s Consul to Gaza

 Neither Spain’s economy nor the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s anorexic budget can afford such luxuries.

2013-04-23 by Rafael Bardaji

Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation has always had a soft spot for the Palestinian side. That is hardly news nor is it a surprise. What is really astonishing is the latest decision taken by the foreign minister José Manuel García-Margallo – to open a consulate in Gaza. It makes no sense and it is also a bad idea. It makes no sense because the expense is not justified, regardless of the small cost. It would provide services to a microscopic Spanish Diaspora (30), made up of anti-Israel political activists, protected by dubious NGOs (funded with taxpayer money.) Neither Spain’s economy nor the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s anorexic budget can afford such luxuries.

Even if we were sitting in the lap of luxury, opening a consulate in Gaza is a serious mistake. Remember that, even if it were authorized by the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, it would still be like something out of fiction since Hamas rules in Gaza – the group that the member countries of the European Union (in other words, we) have designated as a terrorist organization. Only two Nordic countries and Belgium have previously had diplomatic representations and decided not to close their consular delegations there, but no other EU member would open, as Maragallo does now, any representation in Gaza. Thus, this move constitutes a unique initiative of the Spanish government. An occurrence more in line with the government’s current Cuba policy; something one would expect from people like Miguel Ángel Moratinos or Trinidad Jiménez, but never from a political party that considers itself serious, responsible, and loyal to its constituents.

Minister Margallo may not read my writings, but my friends at ACOM have sent him a letter regarding this issue. It is very well argued and the minister should heed its words. The minister’s decision is inexplicable for a country like Spain that has endured the wrongs of terrorism. It is inexplicable to Spain’s people; even worse, the last thing Spain needs is a Margallostan out of control.

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