Spain-Israel tensions soar as Madrid joins the ICJ genocide case



After Spain recognised Palestinian statehood, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez met with his Palestinian counterpart, Mohammad Mustafa, and prominent officials from various Middle Eastern countries in Madrid. Among those present were Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, and the foreign ministers of Turkey and Jordan, who later posed for a photo at Moncloa Palace in Madrid.

Expressing gratitude for Spain’s recognition, Mustafa stated, “On behalf of President [Mahmoud] Abbas and the government of Palestine, the people of Palestine, we warmly welcome Spain’s recognition of the state of Palestine. This recognition strengthens our resolve to continue our struggle for a just and lasting peace.” Spain’s decision, however, faced backlash from Israel, with Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz criticising Spain’s stance and accusing it of supporting anti-Semitic sentiments.

The diplomatic rift between Israel and Spain has been escalating, marked by mutual summoning of ambassadors and punitive measures such as Israel ordering the Spanish consulate in Jerusalem to halt services to Palestinians. Spain’s decision to join South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice further strains relations. This moveimg-align-s with Spain’s long-standing support for Palestinian rights and its goal of fostering a two-state solution.

Domestically, Spain’s recognition of Palestine is supported by a significant portion of the population, as a survey by the Real Elcano Institute found 78% of Spaniards in favour. The decision is also seen as influenced by pressure from the far-left Sumar party within Spain’s coalition government. While the move has sparked controversy, particularly among Spain’s Jewish community, it reflects a broader policy trajectory that spans decades, emphasising Spain’s commitment to Palestinian statehood and peace.