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Spain calls for end to Gaza blockade

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Spain calls for end to Gaza blockade
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The Spanish government has said it will ask the rest of the European Union to tell Israel to end its blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday.

He said he wanted EU members to agree upon “a strong common position” that will call for an end to the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Abbas told reporters that the move demonstrated the good relations shared by the Palestinians and the European Union.

Spain’s proposal will be debated at the European Council on Monday.

Israel has blockaded Gaza since 2007 in an effort to weaken Hamas.

Humanitarian organisations have said the measures amount to collective punishment of Gazan civilians, but the Israelis stressed that closing the borders prevents arms from reaching Hamas militants.

Israel has been heavily criticised over the past two weeks for its storming of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla on May 31.

Nine people died, including eight Turks and one US citizen of Turkish origin.

The raid prompted an international backlash with the United Nations, several members of the European Union and Russia all condemning the actions of the Israeli troops.