By Javier Picazo Feliú
Madrid, Nov 6 (EFE).- The conflict between Israel and the Islamist group Hamas in Gaza has generated a “strong wave of anti-Semitism” and led to allegations of genocide. But according to Israel’s ambassador to Spain, Rodica Radian-Gordon, that “rhetoric that must be completely rejected”, as Israel is not looking to “kill the Palestinian people” but only those who were behind the deadly Oct. 7 attack by Palestinian militants.
In an interview with Efe, Radian-Gordon stressed: “I think Europe has perhaps not learned the lesson of what anti-Semitism is and how to combat it, because we are seeing more and more anti-Semitic acts all over Europe, including in Spain.”
The attack by Hamas just over a month ago killed over 1,400 people in Israel, injured more 5,400 and saw 242 people taken hostage. Israel has responded with an intense bombing of the Gaza Strip, killing over 10,000 people and injuring more than 25,000, triggering massive protests around the world.
“Many of those protesting don’t understand Hamas’ tactics and are not very informed about this conflict,” the ambassador said, pointing out that in many of those demonstrations protesters are calling for the dissolution of the State of Israel.
“It does not mean that they should not support the Palestinians, but they should not support Hamas. We make a distinction between Hamas and the Palestinian people. You have to be very careful,” she added.
Many of those attending the protests accuse Israel of committing acts of genocide against the Palestinian people. “Making allegations of genocide? These people don’t know the definition of genocide. We are not here to kill the Palestinian people, nor to uproot them. We only want to keep them out of the middle of the battle against Hamas in northern Gaza,” she insisted.
“THE HARDEST, BLOODIEST PHASE OF THIS FIGHT”
According to Radian-Gordon, Israel is currently focused on destroying Hamas’ entire subterranean network of tunnels underneath Gaza City. “We are reaching perhaps the hardest and bloodiest phase of this fight.”
She emphasized that Hamas wants to “have their infrastructure under civilian institutions such as hospitals, mosques, schools… Because they know that Israel will think twice or three times about attacking these institutions”.
Nevertheless, the Israeli army has bombed several civilian targets in its campaign against the Islamist group. “Everywhere we attack are places where we have full confirmation that there are militants, a Hamas headquarters or senior Hamas officials” and always after having urged the population to leave the areas that are military targets, Radian-Gordon said.
To destroy Hamas and wrest control of the Strip from the group, Israel has been bombing the enclave for the past month, while also sending in ground troops to divide it into north and south.
“I understand the pictures and the horrible images you see from the Gaza Strip. But it is part of Hamas’ way of fighting, using the civilian population as human shields. Moreover, we have seen that they are not allowed to leave the Strip, using methods of terrorism against their own citizens,” she said.
The past month has left more than 11,000 people dead on both sides and an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe, leading to the heads of the various humanitarian agencies that make up the United Nations to call for a ceasefire that would allow the entry of food, water, medicine and fuel.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid (OCHA), the distribution of food aid has almost completely stopped due to the intensity of the Israeli airstrikes and Israel’s order for civilians in northern Gaza to evacuate.
“We want to know what is happening with our hostages. We demand the release of all of them. Without dealing with this issue, there will be no ceasefire,” the ambassador said.
SPANISH MINISTERS “INCITING HATRED”
The conflict in Gaza has provoked fierce reactions to Israel around the world and, in Latin America, Bolivia has severed diplomatic relations while Colombia and Chile have recalled their ambassadors in protest.
“I very much regret this behavior. It is a total lack of understanding of what Israeli society is and what has happened in Israel. I am sure that any government in any country after an attack as barbaric and as cruel as what we have experienced would have done the same thing,” Radian-Gordon said.
Criticisms of genocide of the Palestinian people also came from part of the Spanish government, which provoked an immediate response from Israel for statements it considered “immoral”.
The ambassador insisted that Israel currently maintains “very good relations” with Spain, a country with which there is an exchange of information and whose position is one of understanding, although she said that “the unfounded accusations on the part of some voices that are still part of the government are not only annoying but incite hatred”.
As for a possible solution to the conflict, she said Israel is currently focused on “destroying Hamas and doing everything possible to free the hostages.”
“What will happen next? It is very difficult to guess (…) We will have to totally change the mentality and the culture of hatred in which a large part of the population of Gaza is growing up. Something very easy to say and difficult to do, but which is essential,” she concluded. EFE