Its deputy was killed during the Nakba.. Learn about the Spanish Consulate in Jerusalem | Policy

Occupied Jerusalem- When you walk in the streets Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood You clearly notice the grandeur and antiquity of the buildings, compared to the rest of the city’s neighborhoods JerusalemYou also notice the spread of Arab and foreign representations there, including the Spanish Consulate, which is distinguished by its ancient architecture and its tower on which a flag flies. Spainwhich attracted attention after the recent recognition of the State of Palestine, and the occupation’s counterattack.

Spain was on the side Ireland AndNorway On May 28, it announced its recognition of an independent Palestinian state, which angered the occupation to ask the Spanish Consulate in Jerusalem to stop providing its services to the Palestinians as of the beginning of this June, while the Occupation Foreign Minister, Yisrael Katz, threatened to take measures that might lead to closing the consulate. Exactly when you communicate with Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.

In response to the restriction and threat to the consulate, Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel said, “The Spanish consulate in Jerusalem is a historical case. It has been in existence since the nineteenth century, and has been operating since that time, even before the existence of the State of Israel.”

The Spanish Consulate in Jerusalem - exclusive to Al Jazeera Net, June 14, 2024
The Spanish Consulate in Jerusalem provided 7,000 visas to Palestinians in the West Bank during 2023 (Al Jazeera)

Oldest foreign mission

The Spanish Consulate is the oldest foreign diplomatic mission in Jerusalem. It was opened nearly a century and a half ago, and has continued to provide its services even though Spain did not recognize Israel until 1986, that is, 19 years after the occupation of the east of the city, where the current consulate is located.

In addition to East Jerusalem, Spain has an embassy in Tel Aviv and an honorary consulate in Haifa. The consulate in Jerusalem provided thousands of services last year 2023, including issuing travel visas to 7,000 Palestinians from the West Bank, 1,200 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, and 2,000. A Palestinian from Jerusalem.

Other services such as travel insurance, copying documents, filling out forms, and emergency aid are also provided to nationals of the Spanish state.

Jerusalemite researcher Ihab Al-Jallad told Al Jazeera Net that the Spanish consulate was established in Jerusalem at the end of the period OttomanConsulates appeared after the reign of Muhammad Ali Pasha in 1840, and their first headquarters were inside Old town On the Churches Road, which is parallel to the Khan al-Zeit market, and was called the Almohads Road.

The Spanish Consulate in Jerusalem - exclusive to Al Jazeera Net, June 14, 2024
The Spanish Consulate building in Jerusalem is rented from a Palestinian-Armenian family (Al Jazeera)

Rented building

The building in the Old City is currently occupied by the Espanyol School after the Spanish Consulate moved to the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in the twentieth century, when consulates began opening their headquarters outside the Jerusalem Wall and the Old City.

The Spanish Consulate was opened in Jerusalem coinciding with European interest in Jerusalem and Palestine, and its main function was to supervise Spain’s property, and its cultural and political services expanded over the years.

According to private sources for Al Jazeera Net, the current Spanish Consulate building in Sheikh Jarrah was built in 1955 with three floors, with an area of ​​280 square meters on each floor. It is owned by the Armenian “Sevztian” family in Jerusalem, and the consulate rents it from them.

The building was also located near the former armistice line (dividing East and West Jerusalem), and near the office of the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1964, which is currently occupied by the Turkish Consulate.

Targeting the occupation

The recent occupation attack on the Spanish Consulate in Jerusalem was not the first in its history, as the Spanish Vice-Consul and Acting Officer, Manuel Alsace Salazar, was killed in January 1948, after Zionist gangs bombed the Semiramis Hotel in the Qatamon neighborhood, west of Jerusalem. In 1985, settlers vandalized a car. Consul at the time, in retaliation for Spain’s recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

It is noteworthy that the majority of foreign consulates in Jerusalem, which existed after the Nakba in 1948, are located in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, east of Jerusalem, which was called the “Consulates Neighborhood” for its beauty and proximity to the Jerusalem Wall and the public transportation route towards the north.

In addition to the Spanish Consulate, the Turkish, French, British, Belgian, Italian, Swedish and Greek consulates are located there. The neighborhood was also an ideal alternative to the consulates whose buildings were occupied by Zionist gangs west of Jerusalem in 1948.

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