Spain warns Israel that ICJ orders are ‘binding’

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Spanish government of socialist Pedro Sánchez warned Israel this Saturday that the orders issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) are “binding” and demanded their compliance. “The ICJ’s orders, including the order to halt the Israeli offensive in Rafah, are binding. We demand their application,” wrote Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares on the social network X.

“This also concerns the ceasefire, the release of hostages and access to humanitarian aid. The suffering of the people of Gaza and the violence must end,” he added. The UN’s highest court on Friday ordered Israel to “immediately” stop its military offensive in Rafah, a decision likely to add to international pressure for a truce after more than seven months of war.

Binding… but no means to enforce them

The ICJ, which sits in The Hague, also ordered Israel to keep the Rafah crossing open to allow “unrestricted” access to humanitarian aid. The court also called for the immediate release of people taken hostage by Hamas during its October 7 attack on Israel. The orders of the ICJ, which decides disputes between states, are legally binding but it has no way of enforcing them.

Spain has been one of the most critical European countries towards Israel since the start of the current conflict in Gaza. The Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu recalled its ambassador to Madrid this week for consultations, after the announcement Wednesday of Spain, Ireland and Norway to recognize the State of Palestine. Israel also announced on Friday that it had “decided to cut the link” between the Spanish consulate in Jerusalem and the Palestinians, also due to an “anti-Semitic call” from the number three in the Spanish government, Yolanda Díaz, leader. of the far-left Sumar party and Minister of Labor.

“Palestine will be free from the river to the sea”

“Today we welcome the fact that Spain recognizes the State of Palestine,” but “we cannot stop there. Palestine will be free from the river to the sea,” Yolanda Díaz said on X, denouncing a “genocide of the Palestinian people.” The war in the Gaza Strip began on October 7 after the attack by Hamas commandos infiltrated from the Gaza Strip, leading to the death of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP count made from official Israeli data.

That day, 252 people were also taken as hostages into the Palestinian territory. In response, the Israeli army launched a devastating offensive in the Palestinian territory, which left at least 35,857 dead, mainly civilians, according to the Ministry of Health of Hamas, a movement considered terrorist by Israel, the United States and the European Union in particular.

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