HUNDREDS of thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters staged rallies across Spain demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, urging the government to break institutional ties and end arms trade with Israel.
Spaniards on Saturday staged anti-Israel rallies in more than 90 municipalities throughout Spain, with the largest one in the capital Madrid, where over 50,000 people are estimated to have participated in solidarity with Palestine.
In Madrid, large crowds waved Palestinian flags and chanted ‘Ceasefire now,’ and ‘Free Palestine.’
Others were carrying banners and posters that read “Not in our name, not with my money,” “Israel murders, Europe sponsors,” or “We want to ask Pedro Sánchez how many children have to be killed to break with criminal Zionism.”
‘The horror we are witnessing is unacceptable for any advanced society,’ Fernando Gallardo, a 49-year-old insurance sector employee participating in the protest said.
Protests also hold placards and banners calling for boycotting Israel.
‘No human being can condone this genocide and massacre,” said Aida Rodrigez another protester adding that “attacking hospitals and civilians are barbarism and anyone who says ‘I am human’ cannot remain silent.’
Some protesters also carried South African flags, after that country brought a case against Israel to the UN’s top court, accusing Tel Aviv of genocide against Palestinians.
In Madrid, Spain, thousands assembled to denounce Israel’s genocide and show solidarity with Gaza. pic.twitter.com/lpktnYab62
The protest was organised by the Solidarity Network against the Occupation of Palestine (RESCOP), a conglomerate of over 100 civil society organisations in Spain.
The organisers urged the Spanish government to sever all political, economic, cultural, and sporting relations with Israel and take concrete steps for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to stop the genocide.
They called Spain Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, to join South Africa’s lawsuit before the International Court of Justice, ending the arms trade with Israel and breaking relations.
The demonstration, which was also supported by some left-wing political parties MRs, observed a minute of silence for those who lost their lives in the Israeli attacks on Gaza.
‘The government is very close to taking Spain to war against Yeomen to protect [Israel]. We demand concrete steps to stop this genocide. We are very concerned. Spain should support South Africa’s genocide case application to the International Court of Justice both legally and in front of its people,’ Ions Belarra, a former minister said.
Belarra, leader of the Podemos Party, was Spain’s minister for social rights until she was removed from her post by Sánchez in November over her targeting of the ‘deafening silence’ of her country and the regime’s other Western allies on Tel Aviv’s ferocious war.
The rally was the largest since Israel’s relentless attacks on the Gaza Strip began on October 7, as many have come out week after week for similar demonstrations, calling for a ceasefire in Gaza while demanding the Spanish government end its support for Israel.
Similar pro-Palestine rallies were also held in other cities around Spain such as Barcelona, Valencia, Seville and Granada.
Since Israel launched its genocidal campaign against Gaza, global pro-Palestinian demonstrations involving millions of people from all walks of society have been held in major cities, including London, Paris, Rome, Toronto, Washington, New York, and Jakarta, among others.
The relentless Israeli military aggression has so far killed at least 25,000 people in Gaza, more than 10,000 of whom are children, while 62,000 others have been wounded.
- The spokesman for Iraq’s Joint Operations Command (JOC), Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, says the Baghdad government is determined to end the presence of foreign troops from the US-led military coalition purportedly formed to fight the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group.
‘The Iraqi government is resolute to put an end to the deployment of foreign forces in the country. It has devised a vision plan for the next stage, which includes joint technical activities intended for the US-led coalition’s departure and subsequent security and military cooperation,’ Rasool said.
The high-ranking Iraqi security official underscored that with the presence of capable Iraqi forces, the US-led military coalition in Iraq is no longer needed.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani on Thursday repeated his call for the US-led coalition to depart his country, stressing that Baghdad demands the immediate withdrawal of the forces due to their destabilizing activities.
Mohammad Shia al-Sudani was addressing a televised event at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
‘The end of the US-led coalition mission is a necessity for the security and stability of Iraq,’ he said during a televised event at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
‘It is also a necessity for preserving constructive bilateral relations between Iraq and the coalition countries,’ the Iraqi prime minister noted.
Sudani has repeatedly said in recent weeks he would like to see foreign troops leave Iraq.
Iraq adopted the law to expel foreign forces after Washington’s assassination of top Iraqi and Iranian anti-terror commanders four years ago.
General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU), were martyred along with their comrades in a US drone strike that was authorised by then-president Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020.
The two iconic anti-terror commanders are greatly admired for their instrumental role in fighting and decimating the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.
- US House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has accepted large donations from a pro-Israeli lobby to push in Congress for the approval of a hefty $14 billion aid package for Israel.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) donated around $95,000 to the Speaker of the US House of Representatives after he pushed through a $14 billion aid package for Israel in November, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission records reported by The Intercept on Saturday.
Johnson, a hitherto unknown backbencher and acknowledged Christian nationalist, was appointed as the Speaker after a far-right faction of Republican lawmakers ousted former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, claiming he had been too soft on US President Joe Biden over the US fiscal budget, as well as other issues disputed between the Republican and Democratic parties’ Congress lawmakers.
US President Joe Biden has called for another package of military assistance worth $75 billion for Ukraine and Israel.
Meantime, the pro-Israel lobby group regularly donates money to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to push Tel Aviv’s agenda ahead.
AIPAC lobbyists have been Johnson’s top donors in 2023.
Last year, AIPAC poured tens of thousands of dollars into his campaign coffers just after he led the passage of a $14 billion aid package to Israel.
In 2023, AIPAC’s political action committee donated a total of $104,000 to Johnson with the majority of donations coming right after the Israeli war machine had launched the months-long genocidal war against the hapless Palestinians trapped in the besieged Gaza Strip.
Analysts believe the fact that AIPAC feels the need to donate large sums to the Republican House Speaker to push pro-Israeli policies is a significant shift.
In the past, military aid was the “holy grail” of the relationship between Washington and Tel Aviv, according to Yousef Munayyer, a Palestinian-American analyst who is a non-resident fellow at the Arab Center Washington, DC.
Co-author of “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy,” Stephen Walt told The Intercept that US policy toward the Middle East is the foreign policy issue on which various K Street lobbyist groups wield the most influence.
“In terms of foreign policy, this is probably the one issue where money in politics has had the greatest negative effect,” said Walt, a professor of international relations at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Meantime, US Muslim leaders in swing states pledged to rally their communities against Biden’s bid for re-election in 2024 due to his continued support for Israel and his months-long refusal to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.
Muslim American leaders in swing states pledge to rally their communities against Biden’s bid for re-election due to his steadfast backing of Israel.
Muslim community leaders gathered last month in Dearborn, Michigan, to protest Biden’s refusal to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, warned Biden that his pro-Israeli stance could affect his votes in crucial swing states in the upcoming US presidential election.
‘This #AbandonBiden 2024 conference is set against the backdrop of the upcoming 2024 presidential election and the decision to withdraw support for President Biden due to his unwillingness to call for a ceasefire and protect innocents in Palestine and Israel,’ the group said in a statement.
Democrats in Michigan said Biden’s handling of the Israeli war on Gaza could cost him enough support within the Arab American community to sway the outcome of the 2024 US presidential election.