Israel Recalls Ambassador to Madrid: Escalating Diplomatic Crisis with Spain

In a surprising turn of events, Israel has decided to escalate the ongoing diplomatic crisis with Spain by recalling its ambassador to Madrid, Rodica Radian-Gordon, for consultations. This decision comes after Spanish President Pedro Sánchez expressed his concerns regarding Israel’s compliance with international humanitarian law in its airstrikes on Gaza.

The announcement, made by Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, signifies a strong protest and puts diplomatic representation in Madrid on hold indefinitely.

Background of the Diplomatic Crisis

The diplomatic crisis between Spain and Israel began when President Pedro Sánchez voiced his “frank doubts” about Israel’s adherence to international humanitarian law during its bombardment of Gaza.

While Sánchez acknowledged the heinous terrorist attack that took place in Jerusalem, he emphasized the importance of Israel upholding actions within the framework of international law. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded by instructing Foreign Minister Eli Cohen to summon the Spanish ambassador in Israel to reprimand her for the Spanish government’s alleged support of terrorism.

Israel’s Response: Recalling the Ambassador

Israel’s decision to recall its ambassador to Madrid, Rodica Radian-Gordon, is a significant escalation in the diplomatic dispute. Calling back an ambassador is one of the most severe forms of diplomatic protest, demonstrating a strong discontentment and pressuring the host country to change its stance.

This move leaves the diplomatic representation vacant indefinitely until further notice. Morocco and Algeria, in similar fashion, recalled their ambassadors to Madrid during the Western Sahara dispute, leaving their diplomatic positions vacant for several months.

Attempts to Resolve the Crisis

Prior to the public announcement of Israel’s decision, they had already summoned the Spanish ambassador in Tel Aviv, Ana María Sálomon Pérez, for the second time in less than a week. The purpose of this meeting was to express Israel’s protest against President Sánchez’s statements.

Meanwhile, Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares indicated that the diplomatic crisis was showing signs of resolution. He conveyed the Spanish government’s solidarity and condolences regarding the Jerusalem attack during a meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Eli Cohen, at the OSCE ministerial conference in Skopje, North Macedonia.

Spain’s Stance and Call for International Law Compliance

President Pedro Sánchez emphasized that Spain maintains a “correct” relationship with Israel but believes that as friends, they should speak honestly to each other. While condemning the terrorist attack, Sánchez expressed his concerns about Israel’s compliance with international humanitarian law, particularly due to the rising number of casualties, including children, in the conflict.

He stated his “frank doubts” regarding Israel’s adherence to international law and called for Israel to sustain its actions within the framework of international humanitarian law.

Implications of Recalling the Ambassador

Israel’s decision to recall its ambassador to Madrid has significant implications for the diplomatic relations between the two countries. This action effectively suspends political relations and leaves the embassy in the hands of the chargé d’affaires, the second-in-command of the diplomatic mission.

The duration of the recall remains uncertain, with Israeli officials suggesting that changes in Spain’s position are necessary for the ambassador to return.

Path to Resolution

This crisis initially unfolded when Pedro Sánchez made similar comments about Israel’s compliance with international humanitarian law during his visit to the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza.

However, this time, Israel’s response has been more severe, likely due to what they perceive as Sánchez’s persistence in questioning their actions. While the Spanish and Israeli foreign ministers have engaged in discussions to ease tensions, the resolution of the crisis remains uncertain.

Conclusion

Recall of Israel’s ambassador to Madrid marks a significant escalation in the diplomatic crisis between Israel and Spain. This decision comes after Spanish President Pedro Sánchez expressed his concerns about Israel’s compliance with international humanitarian law in its airstrikes on Gaza.

While both countries have engaged in discussions to resolve the crisis, the duration of the recall remains uncertain. As the diplomatic dispute continues, the international community will closely monitor the situation and its potential repercussions.