Entities call for Spain to welcome Palestinian refugees as it did with Ukrainians

Social groups criticize that only two flights have been made and that appointments for procedures are blocked

Members of Pro-Palestinian entities give a press conference calling for Spain to facilitate the arrival of refugees
Members of Pro-Palestinian entities give a press conference calling for Spain to facilitate the arrival of refugees / Pol Solà
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

March 6, 2024 03:07 PM

March 6, 2024 07:11 PM

Activists and organizations in support of Palestine have called on the Spanish government to facilitate the arrival of refugees from Gaza in the same way that it welcomed those fleeing war in Ukraine.

The groups say that Spain puts more obstacles in the way of arriving refugees than most other countries, even for those who have Spanish documents or relatives who already live in the country.

They also criticized the fact that only two flights have been made from Palestine to Spain since the war began last October and that appointments for procedures are blocked.

Social entities also ask the Catalan government and local councils to help Palestinians who arrive in Catalonia.

In a letter sent to the administrations, the social groups denounced that "in the face of Spanish institutions not moving to help evacuate Palestinian people from the Gaza Strip and to support them upon arrival", the Enough Complicity with Israel Coalition and the Palestinian Community of Catalonia demand that such institutions take responsibility for the tasks of welcoming and protecting those fleeing Gaza.

Palestinians who arrive in Spain need financial support, comprehensive psychological support, housing, food, language classes, among many other forms of support, they say.

"We know that several of the measures depend on the Spanish administration, but we cannot accept this as an excuse on the part of Catalan institutions. The Catalan government should do everything in its power to put pressure on the Spanish government to protect Palestinian refugees and make all its tools available," they add.

They consider the inaction as "a lack of political will, since two years ago all kinds of measures and protocols were immediately activated to welcome the Ukrainian refugees who arrived in Catalonia in the face of the Russian invasion of Ukraine."

They also called on the Socialists and Sumar, the Spanish government coalition partners, to promote an evacuation and refugee reception program with special emphasis on people with medical need.

Percentage of refugees accepted

Alys Samson, a member of the Enough Complicity with Israel Coalition, recalled that the last flight of Spaniards evacuated from Palestine was in November.

Miguel Pajares, honorary president of the Catalan Refugee Aid Committee, explained that Spain's rate of granting political asylum to Palestinian refugees reached 50% in 2022 and 80% in 2023, above other nationalities, but feels that it should be closer to 100% due to the current conditions in Palestine.

In the last two years, less than 400 people have been granted asylum each year, as it takes six months for asylum seekers to get an appointment, while it took one day for the Ukrainians when the entire European Union decided.

He also noted the difficulties faced by Palestinians who leave Gaza trying to reach Spain. Pajares explained that embassies and consulates in Egypt or Israel do not help at all and instead put up many obstacles. You can't talk by phone or email either, and pre-appointments don't work, he said.

Present at the press conference on Wednesday there was a Palestinian person who has been in Spain for six years, Rabee Abu Nahel, who explained that he has been trying for four months for his mother to come to Spain.


Although he has a Spanish NIE, the procedures are not progressing. In addition, his passport is at the Spanish embassy in Egypt.

He explained that Israel demolished his house in Gaza and his mother, sisters, and nephews had to walk to the south of the Gaza Strip to take refuge in Rafah, where they currently have no accommodation.

He reported that his relatives can only eat once a day and have no access to medicine. Rabee doesn't want financial help for his family, but he does want them to leave Gaza and come to Catalonia.