Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (3rd R) attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem October 1, 2017..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who in recent weeks came out in favor of Iraqi Kurdish independence, had no comment Sunday about the independence referendum in Catalonia.
Netanyahu’s spokesman David Keyes directed inquiries on the matter to the Foreign Ministry where spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon, when asked Israel’s stand on the issue, replied: “We see it as an internal Spanish matter.”
In 2013, then-president of the Catalan government, Artur Mas, came to Israel with the mayor of Barcelona and a business delegation.
Mas met with then-president Shimon Peres and the finance minister at the time, Yair Lapid.
According to a report at the time, Mas spoke with Peres about “Catalonia’s process of building its own state.” There is no report of what Peres said on the matter.
The press in Spain noted that, contrary to protocol but apparently at Mas’s insistence, there was no Spanish flag at the meeting and the two men met in front of two Israeli flags, not – as is usually the case – one Israeli flag and one of the guest’s country.
After meeting Lapid, Mas was quoted by the Catalan News Agency as saying: “Israel is a strategic country for Catalonia in many ways” and that the government’s aim with the trip was to “strengthen our cooperation and maintain the good relations between the two countries.”
In 2014, The Jerusalem Post
reported that a Barcelona High Court Judge, Santiago Vidal, said in an interview with a local Spanish magazine that Israel and Germany may be key to initial financing of an independent Catalan state.
Vidal, a pro-independence advocate, predicted then that an independent Catalan state could be established in three years through “legal, political and peaceful means.” He said, however, that without being a member of the EU, this fledgling state could not get the Central Bank of Europe to finance its debts.
“But there is a solution for this, another state with solvency, basically speaking of Israel and Germany, will serve as our temporary bank,” he said.
When asked whether it was not a gamble to believe that Israel – facing calls for Palestinian independence – would back the Catalan cause, he replied: “The Palestinian issue is characterized by violence whereas the Catalan issue is characterized by civic lessons, pacifism and the doing of good things that we are giving to the whole world. And this is something the Israelis like very much.”