Israel recalls its ambassador to Spain ‘indefinitely’ after Sanchez’s ‘shameful remarks’

The diplomatic crisis between Israel and Spain escalated on Thursday when Israeli Foreign Minister, Eli Cohen, recalled his ambassador in Madrid, Rodica Radian-Gordon, for consultations.

This decision means that the diplomatic mission in Spain will remain empty indefinitely.

Cohen himself announced it on X, formerly Twitter: “Following the outrageous words of the Spanish Prime Minister, who repeats baseless accusations, I have decided to call the Israeli Ambassador to Spain to return to Jerusalem for consultations”.

“Israel is acting and will continue to act in accordance with international law and we will continue the war until the release of all the abductees and the elimination of Hamas in Gaza”.

“There is only one factor responsible for the 7 October massacre and the situation in Gaza today, and that is the terrorist organisation Hamas, which is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity against the citizens of Israel and the residents of the Gaza Strip”.

The recall of an ambassador for consultations is one of the harshest warnings in diplomacy and the final step before the severing of diplomatic relations.

It comes after Spain’s newly re-elected prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, condemned Hamas terrorist attacks, but criticised Israel’s offensive in Gaza and the level of devastation in the enclave, during a Thursday television appearance. 

“With the images we are seeing and the increasing number, especially of children, who are dying, I have real doubts that (Israel) is respecting international humanitarian law,” Sánchez said.

“What we are seeing in Gaza is unacceptable,” he added, asserting that relations between Spain and Israel are “correct” and that “friendly countries also have to tell each other the things that are true”.

Diplomatic ‘reprimand

Following these statements, Israel has also summoned the Spanish ambassador in Tel Aviv, Ana Sálomon Pérez, for a second “reprimand”.

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed “Foreign Minister Eli Cohen to summon the Spanish Ambassador to Israel to reprimand her following the Spanish Prime Minister’s shameful remarks”.

The crisis between the two countries began a week ago when Sánchez criticised the high death toll in Gaza and called on Israel to comply with international law.

At the same time, he stood firm on Spain’s proposal to recognise a Palestinian state, warning that if the EU did not agree, Spain would “take its own decisions”.

All this was praised by Hamas, which welcomed Sánchez’s “clear and courageous stance”, a reaction that caused unease in Israel, which argued that the Spanish PM’s words constituted “support for terrorism”.

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