The Israeli Foreign Minister, Eli Cohen, has recalled the Israeli ambassador to Spain for consultations, following the controversy over the statements made by the Spanish President, Pedro Sánchez, who criticised the high number of deaths in Gaza and said he doubted that Israel "complies with international law".
"Following the outrageous words of the Spanish President, who repeats unfounded accusations, I decided to call the Israeli ambassador to Spain," Rodica Radian-Gordon, "to return to consultations in Jerusalem," Cohen announced via his account on the social network X (formerly Twitter).
"Israel acts and will continue to act in accordance with international law, and we will continue the war until the release of all hostages and the elimination of Hamas in Gaza," the Foreign Minister insisted.
He stressed that "there is only one factor responsible for the 7 October massacre and the current situation in Gaza, and that is the Hamas terrorist organisation, which commits war crimes and crimes against humanity against the citizens of Israel and the residents of the Gaza Strip".
Israel also announced that it will call for a "reprimand" of the Spanish ambassador to Tel Aviv, Ana Sálomon Pérez, also following Sánchez's statements hours earlier, which criticised Israel's offensive on Gaza and the level of devastation in the enclave.
"With the images we are seeing and the increasing number, especially of children, who are dying, I have clear doubts that (Israel) is complying with international humanitarian law," Sánchez said in an interview with Spanish public television (TVE).
"What we are seeing in Gaza is not acceptable," added the president, who said that the relationship between Spain and Israel is "correct", adding that "friendly countries also have to tell each other the things that are true".
However, the recall of Israel's ambassador to Madrid represents a new escalation in the diplomatic crisis between Spain and Israel that began last week, following Sánchez's visit to Israel, Palestinian territory and Egypt with the Belgian Prime Minister, Alexander de Croo.
Sánchez criticised the high death toll in Gaza and called on Israel to comply with international law. He also expressed his firm support for Spain's proposal to recognise a Palestinian state and warned that if the EU does not agree, Spain "will make its own decisions".
All of this was praised by Hamas, which thanked Sánchez for his "clear and bold stance" in a reaction that generated unease in Israel, which argued that the Spanish President's words constituted "support for terrorism".