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08MADRID63 2008-01-23 06:51:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Madrid
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1. (C) Spanish Director General for the Middle East Alvaro
Iranzo called DCM January 21, at the request of FM Moratinos,
to provide early warning that Spain would be issuing a
communique that would be critical of Israeli military
operations in Gaza as well as the border closings. Iranzo,
calling from Morocco where Moratinos was attending a meeting
of the 5 5 of the EU-Mediterranean
Dialogue, said that Spain felt the Israeli response had been
disproportionate to the Hamas rocket attacks and that the
extreme measure of shutting the border crossings was unduly
punishing the civilian population of Gaza. The military
operations also undermined the credibility of Abu
Mazen and were therefore not in keeping with the spirit of
the Annapolis conference.

2. (C) The DCM thanked Iranzo for the advance notice and
replied that Hamas had fired over 100 rockets into Israel in
recent days, and that Israel had the right to defend itself.
The DCM noted that if Spain or the U.S. faced the same kind
of daily attacks from neighbors our response might also be
disproportionate. However, the DCM acknowledged the
importance of supporting Abu Mazen and appreciated Spain's
strong interest in playing a positive role in the Middle
East. The DCM undertook to
pass the information to Washington.

3. (C) COMMENT: Moratinos' special effort to give the
Embassy a heads up is something new. The strong tone of the
communique may be in part due to the January 22 visit to
Madrid of Palestinian FM Salam Fayyad. Fayyad will meet with
President Zapatero. END COMMENT.

4. (U) Begin text of communique (Embassy informal

The Government of Spain wishes to express its profound
concern over the deterioration of the humanitarian situation
in Gaza, calls on Israeli authorities to immediately
reestablish normality in the administration of supplies and
social services to the population of the
Strip, and reiterates that any measure which indiscriminately
punishes the civilian population is
contrary to international humanitarian law.

The Government of Spain calls on the Palestinian factions in
Gaza to immediately cease the launching of rockets, which
pose grave danger to the civilian population and do not serve
the interests of the Palestinian people, into Israeli
territory and also calls for the reinstatement of
Palestinian National Authority governance in Gaza.

The Government of Spain reiterates its full support for the
peace negotiations recently initiated by the parties and asks
that any action which could undermine the mutual confidence
necessary to bring these negotiations to a good conclusion be