Spain to EU: End Gaza blockade

Spanish Prime
Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said at a joint press conference
with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Saturday that his
country wants to “forge a strong common position” with EU countries in
the face of the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Zapatero said
that at Monday’s Council meeting, Spain’s foreign minister, Miguel Angel
Moratinos, would propose that the EU deploy “all its political and
diplomatic capability” to end the Gaza blockade.

On Friday, the
foreign ministers from France, Italy and Spain wrote an op-ed in the International Herald Tribune in
which they joined in the call. They were careful to insist that captive
IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, held by Hamas in Gaza since June 2006, be

The ministers also acknowledged Israel’s security
concerns: “Lifting the blockade,” they said, “must not go hand-in-hand
with a resurgence in arms trafficking and an influx of terrorist groups
in Gaza.”

The quantity and variety of goods entering Gaza must
increase, they said, offering as one possibility a proposal by Quartet
Middle East envoy Tony Blair. Blair has “suggested a shift from a logic
of denial of supplies to Gaza, with some exceptions, to a logic based on
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