Spanish, Irish leaders call on Ursula von der Leyen to review EU-Israel trade accord over human rights concerns


If Israel is found to be in violation, the agreement needs to be reconsidered, Sánchez and Varadkar argue.  

“We are deeply concerned at the deteriorating situation in Israel and in Gaza, especially the impact the ongoing conflict is having on innocent Palestinians, especially children and women,” the two leaders say in the letter, seen by POLITICO. “The expanded Israeli military operation in the Rafah area poses a grave and imminent threat that the international community must urgently confront.” 

The intervention by the leaders of Spain and Ireland comes as the European Union has struggled to find consensus on the Israel-Gaza war since the Hamas attacks of Oct. 7. 

Hungary and the Czech Republic are continuing to hold back sanctions on Israeli settlers in the West Bank, despite EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell stating in December that sanctions were on the way. 

Both the United States and the United Kingdom have sanctioned a number of Israelis in recent weeks over activities in the West Bank. 


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