Pro-Israel group warns Spain against recognizing Palestinian state
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Pro-Israel group warns Spain against recognizing Palestinian state

Head of ACOM says Jerusalem may recognize Catalonia if Madrid follows through with move; Foreign Ministry won’t comment

Protesters wave pro-independence Catalan Estelada flags during a demonstration in Barcelona on October 21, 2017. (AFP Photo/ Pau Barrena)
Protesters wave pro-independence Catalan Estelada flags during a demonstration in Barcelona on October 21, 2017. (AFP Photo/ Pau Barrena)

A pro-Israel lobbying group in Spain warned that if the country recognizes a Palestinian state, Israel may do the same for the restive Catalonia region.

The head of the ACOM group, Angel Mas, issued the warning last week in an op-ed for the ABC daily. It came amid reports — which were confirmed Thursday by Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell — that Spain is pushing the European Union to recognize what it is calling the State of Palestine. The reports said Madrid will recognize a Palestinian state regardless of the bloc’s position.

Asked about ACOM’s analysis on the probability of Israeli recognition for Catalonia, Emmanuel Nahshon, the top spokesperson of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, told JTA: “I do not comment on speculations.”

Catalonian separatism plunged Spain into a major crisis in October. Federal police clashed with voters over an illegal referendum on independence and the region’s parliament in Barcelona passed a motion declaring independence from Spain despite the federal government’s warning to desist. Madrid dissolved the regional government in a bid to block secession.

Spain’s new Foreign Minister Josep Borrell arrives to attend the first Cabinet meeting of the new government at the Moncloa palace in Madrid, on June 8, 2018. (AP/Francisco Seco)

ACOM is one of Spain’s most high-profile organizations defending Israel and has won dozens of court cases, thanks to private funding by donors, against organizations promoting a boycott of Israel. On September 4, a court in Huelva in southwestern Spain scrapped a vote by the town of Ayamonte that declared the municipality part of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel, or BDS. The Spanish judiciary considers such actions discriminatory.

In his op-ed, Mas wrote that if Spain recognizes a Palestinian state, “there is a real possibility that Israel will decide to recognize Catalonia as a state.”

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