June 6, 2024 | Flash Brief

Amid Tensions With Israel, Spain Requests to Join ICJ Case Targeting Jewish State

June 6, 2024 | Flash Brief

Amid Tensions With Israel, Spain Requests to Join ICJ Case Targeting Jewish State

Latest Developments

Spain on June 6 became the first European country to request to join South Africa’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) case accusing Israel of genocide in its war against Hamas in Gaza. The move is the latest of several hostile actions the Spanish government has taken against Israel in the wake of Hamas’s October 7 massacre. Spain joins other countries and entities, including the Palestinian Authority, Chile, Mexico, Libya, and Colombia, that have recently intervened in the case against Israel.

Expert Analysis

“Spain has joined a modern-day Inquisition targeting the world’s only Jewish state with the false charge of genocide. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has tried to spin this as his country standing on the ‘right side of history,’ but it’s best understood as a return to the medieval bigotry and Jew hatred for which Spain was infamous. Appropriately, it is doing so in the company of South Africa, the main ally of Hamas outside the Middle East.” — Ben CohenFDD Senior Analyst and Rapid Response Manager

“By joining the ICJ case against Israel, Spain highlights the biased, political nature of these proceedings. The ICJ is a political body masquerading as a court of law.” David May, FDD Research Manager and Senior Research Analyst

Madrid Continues Hostility Against Israel

One week after the October 7 massacre, Spanish Minister of Social Rights Ione Belarra called for Spain to take Israel’s prime minister to the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes. Belarra — a leader of a far-left party participating in Spain’s governing coalition — also praised an anti-Israel demonstration in Spain, accused Israel of planning a genocide against the Palestinians, and called on European countries to sever ties to Israel. Israel’s embassy in Spain conveyed its dismay that “certain elements within the Spanish government have chosen to align themselves with this ISIS-type terrorism.” Spain released a communiqué rejecting the Israeli accusation.

Relations further soured on November 24, when on a visit to the Egypt-Gaza border, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez called for the recognition of a Palestinian state and accused Israel of the “indiscriminate killing of civilians.” Israel reprimanded the Spanish ambassador after these remarks and again days later, when Sánchez expressed doubt that Israel was complying with international humanitarian law.

On May 22, Spain, Norway, and Ireland vowed to recognize a “State of Palestine,” doing so on May 28. In a video released on May 24, Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Diaz declared, “Palestine will be free from the river to the sea,” a slogan widely understood to be a call for the destruction of Israel. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said that by recognizing a Palestinian state, Spain was “complicit in inciting genocide against Jews and war crimes.” Katz also forbade Spain’s Jerusalem consulate from providing services to West Bank Palestinians, clarifying that Israel would not “remain silent in the face of the Spanish government’s unilateral decision to recognize a Hamas-led Palestinian state by Pedro Sánchez and the antisemitic statements by Yolanda Diaz to destroy Israel and replace it with a Palestinian state from the river to the sea.”

Top UN Court Calls for Israel to End Anti-Hamas Operations in Rafah,” FDD Flash Brief

ICJ Rejects South Africa’s New Attack Against Israel,” FDD Flash Brief

ICJ Rejects Gaza Ceasefire Demand, Urges Hostages Released,” FDD Flash Brief

Spanish Government Minister Targets Trade With Israel,” FDD Flash Brief

Spain, Ireland Lead Push in EU to Unilaterally Recognize Palestinian State,” FDD Flash Brief

Issues:

International Organizations Israel Israel at War Lawfare Palestinian Politics