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Spain calls for Israel to obey ICJ ruling on ending Rafah operation

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Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares on Saturday demanded that Israel obey an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling calling for an immediate halt to its military operations in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

Writing on the social media platform X, Albares said the ICJ ruling was “mandatory” and demanded “a ceasefire, the release of hostages and humanitarian access.”

“The suffering of the people in the Gaza Strip and the violence must end,” he added.

Spain has been one of the harshest critics in Europe of Israel’s actions in Gaza. Madrid suspended all arms exports to Israel shortly after Israel launched its military response to the October 7 attacks by the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Earlier this week, Spain, along with Norway and Ireland, said it would recognize Palestine as a state. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded by summoning the ambassadors of the three countries.

The diplomatic spat continued on Friday when Israel announced restrictions on the Spanish embassy’s operations in Tel Aviv and on its consulate in East Jerusalem.

The measure followed a post on X by Spain’s Second Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Díaz which included footage of her saying “Palestine will be free from the river to the sea,” a slogan which is widely seen as anti-Semitic in denying Israel’s right to exist.

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