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Penelope Cruz and Pedro Almodovar have both called for a ceasefire in Gazavia

Spanish film stars criticise Gaza ‘genocide’ in open letter

Pedro Almodovar, Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem call for the European Union to condemn the mounting civilian death toll

Some of Spain's biggest actors and directors have come together to publish an open letter in a Spanish newspaper that criticises Europe for refusing to intervene in Gaza and "allowing genocide to happen".

Director Pedro Almodovar joined Oscar-winning actors Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem and dozens of other Spanish film stars, musicians, directors and writers in denouncing Israel's invasion of Gaza. The letter calls for the European Union to "condemn the bombing by land, sea and air against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip".

"Gaza is living through horror these days, besieged and attacked by land, sea and air," the letter states. "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."

The letter also demands an immediate ceasefire from the Israeli military and asks that the Israeli government "lift the blockade, which the Gaza Strip has suffered for more than a decade". The death toll in Gaza has soared since the conflict began three weeks ago, claiming the lives of more than a thousand Palestinian deaths and 56 Israelis. 

Bardem is well known for his outspoken, left-wing political views. In an El Diario column last week, he described the Gaza-Israel conflict as "a war of occupation and extermination against a people without means, confined to a minimum of land, without water and where hospitals, ambulances and children are targets and alleged terrorists".

The Spanish filmmakers' call for a ceasefire highlights a conflict that celebrities have been publicly reluctant to comment on. Two weeks ago, Rihanna tweeted #freepalestine, only to quickly delete it, while NBA star Dwight Howard did the same and followed up his deleted tweet with a profuse apology. Almodovar, Bardem, Cruz and crew seem far less likely to perform any kind of U-turn.