Israel will send back envoy to Madrid: Minister

Israel’s top diplomat said Thursday he was sending back the country’s envoy to Madrid after his predecessor recalled her after Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez questioned the legality of Israel’s war in Gaza.

Rodica Radian-Gordon had been recalled in November by then Israeli foreign minister Eli Cohen following what he said were “outrageous remarks” made by Sanchez in an interview.

Sanchez had said that he had “serious doubts” over the legality of Israel’s actions in the war-torn Gaza Strip, an Israeli official said on condition of anonymity at the time.

In an interview with Spanish public television, Sanchez said the world had to tell Israel “it needs to base its actions on international humanitarian law, and with the images we are seeing and the growing number of people dying, especially boys and girls, I have serious doubts.”

But on Thursday Cohen’s successor, Israel Katz, said he had decided to send the envoy back to Madrid.

Katz said the decision was taken as there “was a change in the messages for the better” from the government of Spain.

The aim was also to garner support “for the right of the state of Israel to protect its citizens against the terrorist organization Hamas” and to secure more “international pressure for the release of hostages.”

Diplomatic tensions between Israel and Spain had soared following repeated remarks by Sanchez criticizing Israel’s military campaign in Gaza that came in response to Hamas’s October 7 attack.

Israel has also recalled its ambassadors from Turkey and South Africa following remarks by those countries’ leaders over the war in Gaza.

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