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30 Nov, 2023 23:26

Israel recalls ambassador from EU country

The Spanish prime minister has questioned the legality of the war on Gaza
Israel recalls ambassador from EU country

The Israeli Foreign Ministry announced on Thursday that it was recalling its ambassador in Madrid, Rodica Radian-Gordon, for consultations after comments made by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez about the ongoing war. Madrid's ambassador in Tel Aviv was also summoned for a protest.

Speaking with the Spanish broadcaster TVE, Sanchez said he had “serious doubt” that Israel was in compliance with international humanitarian law while waging war on the Palestinian group, given the imagery coming from the enclave and the “growing numbers of children dying.”

“Because of the outrageous remarks by the Spanish prime minister, who again repeated baseless claims, I have decided to summon the Israeli ambassador in Spain for consultations in Jerusalem,” Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said on X (formerly Twitter).

“Israel is acting, and will continue to act, according to international law, and will continue the war until all the hostages are returned and Hamas is eliminated from Gaza,” Cohen added.

Sanchez also urged the European Union to recognize the Palestinian state as a political solution to the current crisis. “It is in Europe’s interest to address this issue out of moral conviction because what we are seeing in Gaza is not acceptable,” he told TVE.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office also denounced the Spanish PM’s “shameful remark on a day in which Hamas terrorists murdered Israelis in our capital Jerusalem.” Three civilians were killed and at least eight others injured in a bus stop shooting for which the Palestinian group has claimed responsibility. 

Sanchez incited Israel’s ire last week, when he accused Netanyahu’s government of the “indiscriminate killing” of Palestinian civilians and suggested that Madrid might recognize Palestinian statehood unilaterally. He made these comments at a press conference with his Belgian colleague Alexander De Croo, at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza.

Israel declared war on Hamas after the Palestinian group’s October 7 incursion, which claimed the lives of more than 1,200 Israelis in settlements bordering Gaza. Since then, Israeli air and artillery strikes have left more than 15,000 Palestinians dead, according to health authorities in the Hamas-controlled enclave.

The US has also warned Netanyahu about the conflict, according to Israel’s Channel 12. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the Israeli War Cabinet they don’t have enough “credit” to keep the war going for months and insisted they need to stop targeting the UN and civilians when they move against southern Gaza.