Spain decides to join genocide case against Israel at ICJ

Spain has decided to join South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the Spanish foreign minister said on Thursday.

"We made this decision in light of the continuation of the military operation in Gaza," Jose Manuel Albares said in an urgently called press briefing.

"We also observe with enormous concern the regional extension of the conflict," Albares said.

Spain took this decision to not only "let peace return to Gaza and the Middle East," but also due to its commitment to international law, he added.

"We seek to support the court in the application of precautionary measures, especially in the finalization of military operations in Rafah so that peace returns, in the obstacles to the entry of humanitarian aid that must end, and in the destruction of civilian infrastructure that must cease," the minister said.

With this intervention to the case before the ICJ, Albares said, Spain's "only objective is to end the war and finally begin to move forward in the implementation of the two-state solution, which is the only guarantee to achieve peace and security for Palestinians, Israelis, and the entire region."

The attacks of recent days showed that the precautionary measures "are completely ignored and are very far from being fulfilled," he explained.

He ensured that Spain has "no double standards" and decided to join the case against Israel for "exactly the same reasons" as when it joined the one formulated by Ukraine against Russia's war.

However, he did not comment on whether Spain recognizes the war in Gaza as "genocide," and said it is up to the top UN court to resolve this issue as his personal opinion "matters little."

Albares announced this decision in full tension due to Israel's threats to close the Spanish Consulate in Jerusalem and after Madrid officially recognized Palestine as a state -- a suit followed by Ireland, Norway, and Slovenia.

On Monday, the minister said his country's consulate in Jerusalem has a "very particular and historical status" and existed "long before an Israeli state was created," urging Israel to respect its operations.

His announcement also came after at least 39 displaced Palestinians were killed on Thursday in an Israeli airstrike on a school sheltering thousands of displaced people in the Nuseirat refugee camp, the central Gaza Strip, according to Gaza authorities.

Israel has continued its brutal offensive on Gaza since Oct. 7, 2023 Hamas attack despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire.

Nearly 36,600 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, the vast majority being women and children, and over 83,000 others injured, according to local health authorities.

Nearly eight months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water, and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the ICJ, which in its latest ruling has ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its operation in the southern city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.

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