Spain refuses docking to ship carrying weapons for Israel

Spain is not allowing ships carrying arms to Israel to call at its ports, the country’s foreign minister said, in keeping with its commitment to not “contribute to war”.

The European nation refused to let a ship carrying 27 tonnes of explosives from India to Haifa dock at the Cartagena port, El País reported.

“This is the first time we have done this because it is the first time we have detected a ship carrying a shipment of arms to Israel that wants to call at a Spanish port,” José Manuel Albares, the foreign minister, said in Brussels on Thursday.

“This will be a consistent policy with any ship carrying arms to Israel that wants to call at Spanish ports. The foreign ministry will systematically reject such stopovers for one obvious reason: the Middle East does not need more weapons, it needs more peace.”

The vessel had requested to call at the Cartagena port on 21 May, transport minister Oscar Puente said.

Spain’s ruling Socialists have reportedly landed in a dispute with their hardline leftist partners over the transit of vessels carrying arms to Israel. The dispute erupted over the docking of German owned cargo ship Borkum, which is due to dock in Cartagena on Friday.

The leftists have asked for Borkum to be turned away saying it’s shipping weapons to Israel but Mr Puente has claimed it is transporting military material to the Czech Republic.

The UN Rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories said a vessel reportedly carrying weapons for Israel entering Spain‘s waters “poses a challenge to Spain’s stance on human rights”. “I place my trust in the peoples of Spain – students, educators, intellectuals, workers, civil society, and politicians – to make sure that an effective arms embargo on Israel is progressively and fully enforced,” Francesca Albanese said.

Spain has been a vocal critic of Israel’s war on Gaza which has killed more than 35,000 Palestinians so far and left over 80 per cent of the territory’s 2.2 million population homeless and on the brink of starvation. The war began on 7 October after Hamas launched an attack in southern Israel and killed nearly 1,200 people.

Spain has led the European push to recognise Palestine with Ireland, Malta and Slovenia expected to join it.

“The time has come for the international community to once and for all recognise the State of Palestine,” prime minister Pedro Sanchez said in November.

“It is something that many EU countries believe we have to do jointly, but if this is not the case, Spain will adopt its own decision.”

His government has also suspended weapons sales to Israel.