Spain is backing South Africa’s case before the UN’s top court, citing the failure to end the Gaza offensive FILE PHOTO: Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares. © Carlos Lujan / Europa Press via Getty Images

Spain has requested to join South Africa’s lawsuit before the UN’s top court accusing Israel of committing genocide in the Palestinian enclave of Gaza, Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares has announced. The development comes after Spain, along with Ireland and Norway, recognized the State of Palestine, sparking a fierce backlash from West Jerusalem.

South Africa filed a case with the Dutch-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) back in December, alleging that the campaign unleashed by the Israeli authorities in Gaza following the surprise attack by Hamas on the Jewish state in October was “genocidal in character because [it is] intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group.”

The allegation was vehemently denied by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said “it is not we who have come to perpetrate genocide, it is Hamas.” He claimed that the group “would murder all of us if it could.”

South Africa responds to ICJ ruling on Gaza offensive South Africa responds to ICJ ruling on Gaza offensive

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South Africa responds to ICJ ruling on Gaza offensive

While the ICJ initially only ordered Israel to take all measures to prevent any acts that could be deemed genocidal, it said in late May that the country “must immediately halt its military offensive, and any other action” in the Gazan city of Rafah. Israel has so far failed to comply.

On Thursday, Spain became the first European country to formally rally behind the lawsuit, with Manuel Albares stating that “our sole goal is to put an end to the war and to advance on the road of applying the two-state solution.” He explained that the decision hinged on Israel’s continued military operation in Gaza, stating that “we want peace to return to Gaza and the Middle East, and for that to happen we must all support the court.”

Several other countries, including Mexico, Colombia, Nicaragua, Libya, as well as the Palestinian Authority, have already filed requests to join the case, pending approval from the ICJ. More than two dozen other nations have also voiced support for the case, with Türkiye and Ireland signaling that they intend to intervene.

While ICJ rulings are legally binding, the court has no real means of enforcing them.

According to the Palestinian health ministry, more than 36,000 people have been killed in Gaza since the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict. Meanwhile, Israeli losses have been estimated at around 1,400. (RT)