Dastis with the deputies and Israel’s Ambassador./ Photo: Yinam Cohen, Embassy of Israel
The Diplomat. 29/03/2017
A delegation of the Israeli Parliament (Knesset) is in Spain this week with the objective of consolidating the “normality” of relations between the Parliaments of both countries within the framework of celebrations on the thirtieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.
The group is led by Revital Swid, deputy of the labour party and president of the interparliamentary Friendship group Spain-Israel in the Knesset. Besides, she is accompanied by the vice-president of the Knesset, the labour supporter Yoel Hasson; Elie Elaluf, of the party Kulanu; and Yakopv Margi, of the party Shas.
The visit started on Monday with a meeting with the Presidency and Spokespeople of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate. Subsequently, parliamentarians were received by the Foreign Minister, Alfonso Dastis, at the Santa Cruz palace, where the delegation of the Knesset expounded its initiatives of parliamentary diplomacy related to Spain.
For his part, Dastis highlighted the great progress made as regards bilateral relations throughout the thirty years of diplomatic relations and assured the Israeli delegation that Spain expectantly waits for the visit of State of President Reuvén Rivlin, which could take place in the second half of 2017. Furthermore, he remembered the Government’s initiatives to strengthen ties with the Jewish world, such as the opening of Centro Sefarad-Israel in 2007 or the passing in 2015 of the law granting the Spanish nationality to Sephardic Jews.
Israeli parliamentarians met Dastis and will visit Casa Sefarad today
Dastis also emphasized Spain’s concern “about the peace process between Israel and Palestine being at a standstill” and defended the two-state solution, for considering it “the only formula able to satisfy the legitimate aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis to live in peace and security with their neighbours”.
This formula, according to the minister, will only be achievable “through direct negotiations between the parties”. “Spain and the international community are willing to collaborate to establish an appropriate climate for those negotiations”, the head of the Spanish diplomacy affirmed.
On the other hand, the parliamentary delegation was received yesterday by the president of the Congress of Deputies, Ana Pastor, and met the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate.
Today, according to information provided to The Diplomat by the Embassy of Israel, the Israeli parliamentarians are visiting Casa Sefarad Israel in Madrid and, afterwards, they will go to Toledo, for a more private visit in which the delegation has showed “special interest” due to the importance that this city has as an example of “Spain’s Jewish past”.