Israeli ambassador to return to Spain after ‘positive change’ in government’s message

Spanish territory minister insists on no change in ‘coherent and forceful’ position

Israel's ambassador to Spain, Rodica Radian-Gordon.
Israel's ambassador to Spain, Rodica Radian-Gordon. / Miquel Vera
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

January 5, 2024 02:33 PM

January 5, 2024 02:44 PM

Israel will reinstate its ambassador to Spain, Rodica Radian-Gordon, next week. The decision comes after the Israeli government has seen “positive changes” in the Spanish government’s response to the war in Gaza and for the “importance” of Israel-Spain relations, Israeli foreign minister, Israel Katz said on Thursday. 

Minister of Territorial Policy and Democratic Memory, Ángel Víctor Torres, told Spanish national radio broadcaster RNE on Friday that the government’s position has not changed, but that he was “pleased” that the relations between the two countries had returned to “normal.” 

Recalled on November 30 

The decision to recall Radian-Gorden was made by Katz’ predecessor, Eli Cohen on November 30 after Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said in a televised interview with national public broadcaster RTVE that Hamas attacks must be condemned "with the same conviction”  that Israel should comply with international humanitarian law.

"We have said from the beginning that what Hamas has done in Israel is absolutely atrocious and abhorrent," he said.  

"But we have to say to Israel with the same conviction that its actions must be based on international humanitarian law. But with the images we're seeing and the growing number of people - especially boys and girls - being killed, I have genuine doubts that they're complying with international humanitarian law," Sánchez added.

 Sánchez's remarks have deepened a mini-diplomatic crisis between Israel and Spain that broke last week, when Spain's PM said he could be willing to unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state if other EU members fail to do so collectively.

In a joint appearance with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, the two leaders called for an end to the "endless cycle of violence" in the Middle East, urged Israel to comply with international humanitarian law and advocated a "lasting" cease-fire. 

Moments after Sánchez spoke, Israel summoned the Spanish ambassador, Ana María Salomón, to give her a "harsh reprimand".

Barcelona cuts ties with Israel 

The Barcelona City Council on November 24 suspended institutional relations with the Israeli government.

In a controversial move, the city council said relations will not be resumed "until there is a definitive ceasefire that guarantees respect for the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people and compliance with the United Nations resolutions on the conflict".

However, the interruption of institutional relations with the Israeli government does not affect the relations between Barcelona and the city of Tel Aviv, which were suspended during the term of Ada Colau and which the current mayor, Jaume Collboni, resumed in September.