Published: 10:19, May 27, 2024 | Updated: 15:49, May 27, 2024
Spain to ask EU partners to back ICJ over Israel
By Reuters
Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares speaks during a Memorandum of Understanding Signing Ceremony with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on May 10, 2024, in Washington. (PHOTO / AP)

MADRID - Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said on Monday that he will ask the other 26 European Union member states to issue official backing to the International Court of Justice and take steps to ensure Israel respects its decisions.

"I am going to ask the other 26 partners to declare the backing of the International Court of Justice and its decision, and also, if Israel continues to pursue against that opinion of the Court, we would try to take the right measures to enforce that decision," he told reporters in Brussels during a joint news conference with his Irish and Norwegian counterparts.

Albares earlier condemned as "scandalous and execrable" a video posted by his Israeli counterpart suggesting Hamas would be grateful to Spain, in a growing spat between the two countries over the Gaza war.

Spain last week announced it would recognize Palestine as a state and in recent days two Spanish government ministers referred to a genocide in Gaza.

The video shows the Spanish flag then a couple dancing to flamenco music. Film of Hamas fighters is interspersed including people fleeing during the Oct 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel that triggered Israel's military campaign in Gaza

A short video posted by Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz on the social media platform X on Sunday says "Hamas: Gracias España" ("Hamas: Thanks Spain").

The video shows the Spanish flag then a couple dancing to flamenco music. Film of Hamas fighters is interspersed including people fleeing during the Oct 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel that triggered Israel's military campaign in Gaza.

"We are not going to fall into provocations. The video is scandalous and execrable," Albares told a news conference in Brussels.

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"Its scandalous because all the world knows, including my colleague in Israel, that Spain condemned the actions of Hamas from the first moment. And execrable for the use of one of those symbols of Spanish culture."

Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles said on Saturday that the conflict in Gaza is a "real genocide", echoing a comment by Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Diaz who last week also described the conflict as a genocide.

Israel has strongly rejected accusations made against it by South Africa at the International Court of Justice that it is committing a genocide against Palestinians, arguing it is acting to defend itself and fighting Hamas.

The Israeli embassy in Madrid responded to Robles' comments in a statement posted on Saturday on X.

"We regret that ... Robles has endorsed the false and unfounded story of the terrorist organization Hamas. Israel fights in Gaza in accordance with international law in a war against Hamas that it neither started nor wanted, a consequence of the unprecedented massacre perpetrated last Oct. 7."

The EU, like the United States, deems Hamas a terrorist organization.

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Spain, along with Ireland and Norway, declared this week it would recognize a Palestinian state on May 28. Israel said this amounted to a "reward for terrorism" and recalled its ambassadors from the three capitals.

In her remarks in a television interview on Saturday, Robles said Madrid's recognition of Palestine was not a move against Israel but was aimed at helping end violence in Gaza.

Israel's campaign in Gaza has killed nearly 36,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza health officials, and destroyed much of the enclave.

Israel launched the operation to try to eliminate Hamas after the Oct 7 attack in which some 1,200 people were killed and more than 250 were taken hostage, according to Israeli tallies.