Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Israel-Gaza crisis: Penelope Cruz among Spanish stars to sign open letter condemning Israel for 'genocide'

Penelope Cruz. The letter was signed by Spanish actors, directors and musicians
Penelope Cruz. The letter was signed by Spanish actors, directors and musicians

Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem are among the Spanish stars behind an open letter condemning Israel’s bombardment of Gaza as “genocide”.

The actors demanded a stronger response by the European Union to stop the military operation that has so far killed more than 1,200 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Civilians, including many children, have made up the majority of those killed in the offensive that Israel says is necessary to stop Hamas firing rockets at its cities.

The letter, printed by Europa Press and other Spanish news outlets, reads: "Gaza is living through horror these days, besieged and attacked by land, sea and air.

"Palestinians' homes are being destroyed, they are being denied water, electricity [and] free movement to their hospitals, schools and fields while the international community does nothing."

Labelling the Israeli military the "Israel Occupation Forces", it demanded an immediate ceasefire and urged Israel to "lift the blockade, which the Gaza Strip has suffered for more than a decade".

It blamed the latest hostilities on Israel’s advancement into Palestinian territories instead of observing the 1967 borders pre-dating the Six-Day War.

The letter said that Israel "humiliates, detains, and tramples on the rights of the Palestinian population in all of the West Bank every day, also causing many deaths".

Among the letter’s signatories were directors Pedro Almodovar and Benito Zambrano, actors Lola Herrera, Eduardo Noriega and Rosa Maria Sarda and two musicians, Amaral and Nacho Campillo.

Bardem, who won an Oscar in 2008 for his role in No Country for Old Men, is known for his political activism.

Palestinian freelance photographer Motaz Al Salhy, center, accompanied by colleagues, cries as he holds the bloodied helmet of his friend, freelance cameraman Rami Rayan, who was killed while working, in an Israeli strike in Shijaiyah neighborhood outside the morgue of Gaza City's Shifa hospital, on Wednesday, July 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Palestinian freelance photographer Motaz Al Salhy, center, accompanied by colleagues, cries as he holds the bloodied helmet of his friend, freelance cameraman Rami Rayan, who was killed while working, in an Israeli strike in Shijaiyah neighborhood outside the morgue of Gaza City's Shifa hospital, on Wednesday, July 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Palestinians injured from an Israeli Strike in Shijaiyah neighborhood, wait to receive treatment, at the emergency room of Shifa Hospital, in Gaza City, Wednesday, July 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Palestinians injured from an Israeli Strike in Shijaiyah neighborhood, wait to receive treatment, at the emergency room of Shifa Hospital, in Gaza City, Wednesday, July 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Pro-Palestine demonstrators face off with pro-Israel demonstrators on July 22, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Pro-Palestine demonstrators face off with pro-Israel demonstrators on July 22, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

He previously wrote a letter published in El Diaro on the Gaza conflict, saying the attacks "only breed more hate and violence".

The actor wrote: "In the horror happening right now in Gaza there is no place for distance or neutrality… It's hard to understand and impossible to justify. And it's disgraceful that western countries are permitting such genocide."

Bardem and Cruz married in 2010 and have two children together.

The backlash to the letter has already started, with outrage among people supporting Israel’s actions on Twitter.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a US-based Jewish human rights group, responded with a statement saying Israel "did not start this war".

"It did what every country on this planet, including Spain, would do if hundreds of rockets were hurled at their population centres by an internationally known terrorist organisation," said founder Rabbi Marvin Hier.

Zayn Malik, Rihanna, Bill Maher and John Legend are among other celebrities to give their thoughts on the conflict in Gaza, sparking outrage on both sides.

Live video

Live streaming video from Gaza

Further reading

UN accuses Israel of possible war crime after school shelling kills 19

Video: Moment UN spokesman breaks down in flood of tears discussing Israeli attacks on Gaza

At least 109 Palestinians killed and power station shut down as Gaza pulverised by the Israeli military in heaviest day of bombardment yet

China 'hacks data' from Israel's Iron Dome missile shield, says report 

Surgeons deliver baby girl by Caesarean section after mother is killed in air strike 

Israeli bombs blast Hamas media hub

Fury at Sinn Fein 'boycott Israel' call

Obama presses Netanyahu to call ‘immediate and unconditional’ Gaza ceasefire

Unionist Lord Kilclooney under fire as he attacks Israel’s blitz on Gaza  

John Prescott condemns Israel's bombardment of Gaza as a 'war crime' 

Pope Francis issues desperate plea to fighters - 'I ask you with all my heart, stop please' 

The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts 

Gaza war rages despite truce vows

Israel-Hamas ceasefire: At least 60 bodies found in Gaza after 12-hour truce begins

Robert Fisk: What would we do if it had been 35 Palestinian dead, and 800 Israeli? 

Israeli targeting policy under scrutiny after shellfire hits a mother and child, a school full of refugees and a doctor’s home

Israel may have committed war crimes in Gaza, says UN's human rights chief Navi Pillay

Civilian casualties in Gaza tell stories of death and heartbreak 

Deadly flechette shells used by Israeli military in Gaza 

The myth of Hamas’s human shield 

Israel-Gaza conflict: UN chief Ban Ki-moon pushing for ceasefire

Gaza bloodbath claims 500 Palestinian lives in relentless Israeli onslaught

Israel-Gaza conflict: Gaza suffers its deadliest day after ‘heinous massacre’ in Shuja’iya

Scores dead in Gaza ground battle 

Gaza action 'must be proportionate'

Israel more brutal than Hitler: Turkish PM

Thousands gather for Gaza protest

What if British had treated Northern Irish like Israel treats Palestine?

Israel launches Gaza ground offensive as four more Palestinian children are killed including a five-month-old baby

Response to Gaza 'lily-livered'

Gaza children killed as they played football on the beach

Israeli government insists it does not target civilians – the day after four children are killed by shelling

Israel actions 'disproportionate'

Gaza: Four Palestinian boys killed in Israeli rocket attack on beach

The deep-lying racism fuelling the Israeli onslaught

Alexei Sayle: Israel is Jimmy Savile of nation states

'Sderot cinema’ image shows Israelis with popcorn and hookahs 'cheering as missiles strike Palestinian targets'

Gaza back-story: A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory

From the archives

Students offered grants if they make pro-Israel Facebook posts and tweets  

Cameraman in Gaza 'killed by deadly flechettes fired from Israeli tank'

Israel 'used white phosphorus deliberately and recklessly'

Kim Sengupta: Claims that Israel is using white phosphorus illegally won't go away

UN: Israelis hit our headquarters in Gaza with 'white phosphorus' shells 

Dime bombs leave Israel's victims with mystery wounds 

Israel accused of Gaza war crimes in Amnesty report

Gaza: Demolished in three weeks. Rebuilding it will take years

 Outrage as Israel bombs UN HQ, hospital, school and media building

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