Spanish-Israeli relations 'are not at their best'

The Israeli ambassador to Madrid criticized Spanish officials Thursday for calling the Israeli offensive in Lebanon disproportionate. Victor Harel said Israel was simply defending itself from Hizbullah guerrillas and that the criticism from the prime minister and foreign minister was "very harsh and very unfair." Speaking at a rally Wednesday, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero criticized the Hizbullah kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers which triggered the current fighting. But he added "we must also demand that no one defend themselves with abusive force that does not allow innocent human beings to defend themselves." Harel insisted Spanish-Israeli relations "are not at their best at the moment" even as the countries celebrate the 20th anniversary of establishing diplomatic ties.