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Spanish PM's remarks on Gaza war spark further war of words with Israel

IANS | December 01, 2023 10:44 AM

MADRID: The diplomatic relations between Spain and Israel worsened after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticised comments by his Spanish counterpart Pedro Sanchez that he had "serious doubts" over whether the Jewish nation was observing international humanitarian law in Gaza.

Speaking on the Spanish state TV network RTVE about the conflict in Gaza, Sanchez on Thursday first underlined that "what Hamas did in Israel is absolutely despicable", reports Xinhua news agency

He stressed Spain's "condemnation and rejection" of the attack, saying that "Hamas has to free all of its hostages in Gaza without any conditions".

However, Sanchez also said Israel must "base its actions on international humanitarian law".

"With the images that we are seeing, and the growing number of victims, especially children who are dying, frankly I have doubts that they (Israel) are fulfilling international humanitarian law, " he added.

The Spanish Prime Minister said that a political solution was needed to end the conflict in Gaza and the solution is a Palestinian state.

He argued that Israel is already an internationally recognised country and the US and European countries should also recognise Palestine.

In response to Sanchez's statement, the Israeli Prime Minister's Office said in a tweet that the Spanish Ambassador to Israel was summoned to the Israeli Foreign Ministry "for a reprimand", calling the remarks "shameful comments".

This is the second time in a week that Spain's ambassador to Israel was summoned for a rebuke.

Last week, Israel accused Sanchez of supporting terrorism after he criticised the Israeli offensive on Gaza while visiting the Rafah frontier post between Egypt and Gaza, which made Spain tell the Israel Ambassador in Madrid that the accusation was "especially serious".

"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, " Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen posted on X late Thursday.

In response to what he called the latest "baseless accusations" by the Spanish leader, Cohen said he had decided to recall Israel's Ambassador to Madrid, Rodica Radian-Gordon, for consultations.

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