Israel has recalled its ambassador to Spain to protest accusations by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez that the way Israel was conducting its military offensive in Gaza was likely in breach of international humanitarian law. File photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 1 (UPI) -- Israel recalled its ambassador to Spain to protest accusations by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez that Israel's military offensive in Gaza was likely in breach of international humanitarian law.
Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said in a post on X on Thursday that the decision to withdraw Ambassador Rodica Radian-Gordon from Madrid was sparked by what he called "outrageous remarks" and "repeated baseless accusations" made by Sanchez about the war.
"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," said Cohen.
Speaking to Spanish public television on Thursday, Sanchez said he had "serious doubts that Israel is complying with international humanitarian law" in its military campaign in Gaza.
"Friendly countries also have to tell each other the truth," he said.
Cohen said sole responsibility for the Oct. 7 attacks and the situation in Gaza lay with Hamas which was "committing war crimes and crimes against humanity against the citizens of Israel as well as against the residents of the Gaza Strip."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered Cohen to summon Spain's ambassador to Israel, Jose Manuel Albarres, to the foreign ministry for the second time in a week to reprimand him over the comments from Sanchez.
Netanyahu said the remarks were "shameful" given they came on the same day Hamas gunmen killed three Israelis at the bus stop in Jerusalem on Thursday.
Sanchez previously said on a Nov. 24 visit to the Egyptian side of the Rafah Crossing that Israel was not acting within the rules of international humanitarian law and that the "indiscriminate killing of civilians including thousands of boys and girls" was not acceptable.
Sanchez, who was re-appointed prime minister of a leftist coalition government two weeks ago, has emerged as one of the loudest critics of Israel's military offensive and has used Spain's presidency of the European Union to call for the bloc to recognize a Palestinian state.
He threatened Spain might act alone if an EU-wide consensus could not be reached.