Israel Won't Recognize an Independent Catalonia – for Now

Israel refuses Spain's request to officially reject Catalonia independence, calling crisis an 'internal European issue'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses reporters following his meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Thursday, May 27, 2010.

Israel won't be commenting on Catalonia's bid for independence in the near future, senior Israeli officials said, despite a request by Spain as part of its attempt to block the region's push for independence.

Last week, the Spanish government in Madrid requested that Israel officially announce that it will not recognize Catalonia. Israel declined to support either side, calling the conflict an "internal European issue," the official said.

According to another Israeli official, "just as Israel doesn’t want Europe to intervene in its internal issues, it would be inappropriate for us to comment on the matter." The official also told Haaretz that Israel's official stance may change in the future.

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Israel's position stands out from the line taken by the U.S and the EU, and the government in Madrid has received official support from other Western countries. On Friday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said "Catalonia is an integral part of Spain, and the United States supports the Spanish government’s constitutional measures to keep Spain strong and united."

Donald Tusk, the president of the EU, also supports the actions of the central government in Madrid. He says that the Catalonian bid for independence won't change EU operations, and that the EU will continue to work only with the central government of Spain.