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A deputy in Israel's parliament, the Knesset, has called for her country to recognize the independence of Catalonia, following the announcement by the Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, that he will recognize the state of Palestine on May 28th. The MP is Sharren Haskel, from the rightist party New Hope - founded by a former minister of the Likud, the party of Benjamin Netanyahu - who asked the Israeli government to "respond to Spain in the same manner". "I have sent a letter demanding the recognition of the Basque Country and Catalonia as independent countries," she said in a social media post.

Haskel considered that "it is not possible for Spain to declare that the international community's obligation is to respond to the demand of a people who seek their independence, with a unique culture, language and characteristics, and ignore the demand of an independent local people demanding independence". "The state of Israel is the only model in the world where the natives of the land, who were expelled and persecuted for generations, returned to their homeland and established a national home that revived the culture, religion and language. The state of Israel should bring light and hope to other peoples who are asking for their independence," she concluded.

In the letter, the deputy asks the Israeli government that at the next meeting of the government executive "the independence of Catalonia, the Basque Country, Galicia, Andalusia, Lapland, Corsica, Brittany and other regions and islands of the world who seek to exercise their right to self-determination, be put to a vote." "The firm position of the Israeli foreign minister (Eli Cohen), in response to the demands of the autonomous government of Spain, requires Israel to support the right of these and similar regions to self-determination. Our support to their independence on the international stage will strengthen their struggle for independence and self-determination," she added.

Haskel also called on Netanyahu to "continue Israel's clear and consistent foreign policy in support of the self-determination of other nations." "Just as we have supported the democratic efforts of other nations, we must also support the rights of stateless nations, such as Catalonia, the Basque Country, Galicia, Andalusia, Lapland, Corsica, Brittany and others," she said. Along these lines, she pointed out that Israel's foreign ministry "has been in contact with the leaders of these nations, who have expressed their desire to maintain bilateral relations and cooperation based on democratic values." "Their struggle for independence is not only a matter of self-determination, but also a reflection of our own history and principles," she said, before adding that Cohen has acted "firmly and clearly" till now. "Now is the time to translate these principles into action and officially recognize their right to self-determination. I am sure that their decision will send a clear message of support for their struggle for independence and self-determination," she concluded.

Israel's reaction to Sánchez's announcement

This Wednesday, Netanyahu expressed his annoyance with the Spanish recognition of Palestine, affirming that it is a "reward for terrorism". In a short message published on social media, the Israeli premier criticized the announcement by Spain, Ireland and Norway to recognize the Palestinian state and said that "this evil cannot be given a country" - in reference to the Palestinians.

The foreign ministry called the Israeli ambassadors to Spain, Ireland and Norway for consultations after the announcement. "They have decided to award a gold medal to the killers from Hamas," said the minister in a statement, adding that the three countries are "intending to send a message to the Palestinians and the whole world: terrorism pays." He also threatened "serious consequences" to those countries for their recognition of Palestine.