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Spanish politician who on Oct. 7 said Palestinians have ‘right to resist’ is made a cabinet minister

Sira Rego, who has a Palestinian father, also reposted a tweet that said the “entire Israeli diplomatic delegation must be expelled” from Spain

(JTA) — A Spanish politician who said that Palestinians have “the right to resist after decades of occupation” on Oct. 7, when Hamas killed 1,200 people in southern Israel, was named Spain’s minister of children and youth on Monday.

Sira Rego, who has been a member of the European Parliament since 2019, has a Palestinian father who lives in the West Bank. On X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, she has since Oct. 7 mostly posted and reposted content from others on the Israel-Hamas war, including graphic videos from the aftermath of bombings.

When Israel’s embassy in Madrid published a statement on Oct. 16 criticizing “some members of the Spanish government” for their comments on the war, Rego wrote: “Nobody here has defended Hamas. You have been exterminating a people for 75 years.” She also reposted tweets that said the “entire Israeli diplomatic delegation must be expelled from the Spanish State” and called Israel “undemocratic and corrupt.”

Rego, 50, is a member of the left-wing United Left party, and her cabinet position is new. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has been locked in months of negotiations with various parties to form a governing parliamentary coalition, which will likely include multiple left-wing parties and, controversially, separatist Catalan factions.

Ione Belarra, former acting social rights minister who last month had called to “urgently suspend diplomatic relations with the state of Israel,” lost her post on Monday. Jose Manuel Albares, who called Israel’s Oct. 16 statement an “unfriendly gesture,” retained his position.

Multiple Spanish synagogues have been hit with graffiti tied to the Israel-Hamas conflict. Madrid’s main synagogue in the heart of the Chamberí district was defaced with graffiti that read “Free Palestine” next to a crossed-out Star of David the day after the Oct. 7 attacks.

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