JERUSALEM, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Israel formally protested to Spain on Monday at comments by Madrid's foreign minister on a vote at the United Nations General Assembly next month to upgrade the diplomatic status of the Palestinians.
Yigal Palmor, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, said Israel had summoned Madrid's ambassador and expressed amazement and disappointment at remarks Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez was quoted by the El Pais newspaper as having made.
The ambassador said Jimenez's comments had been misunderstood and Spain would insist any Palestinian motion it supported include a demand for an immediate resumption of Middle East peace talks and security guarantees for Israel, Palmor said.
Israel says it fears Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
's plans to seek U.N. backing for prospective statehood, while peace talks remain frozen over settlements, may trigger violence and pile more diplomatic pressure on the Jewish state.
Abbas is seen as likely to win a mandate to upgrade the status of the Palestinian territories to that of a non-member state at the U.N., though without achieving full membership in the world body, because of Washington's objections to his plan.
Jimenez was quoted as telling the Spanish newspaper he hoped a Sept. 2 meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Poland would bring progress toward recognizing a state which Palestinians want to establish on land Israel captured in a 1967 war.
There's the feeling that now is the time to do something to give the Palestinians the hope that a state could become reality, Jimenez was quoted as saying.
We have to give them some signal, because if we don't it could generate great frustration for the Palestinian people.