Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be investigated for war crimes by the International Criminal Court, according to Spanish Minister of Social Rights Ione Belarra.
In a video statement posted Monday to X, formerly Twitter, Belarra called on the Spanish government to launch a petition for the ICC to investigate Netanyahu over allegedly “carrying out a planned genocide in the Gaza Strip” in retaliation for the October 7 surprise attack by Islamist militant group Hamas.
More than 4,000 people on both sides of the conflict had been killed as of Monday, according to the Associated Press. At least 2,778 people in Gaza have been killed, according to its health ministry, while Israel’s government said that over 1,400 Israelis have been killed, the AP reported.
Meanwhile, 1 million Gaza residents have been displaced from their homes. Israel has also severed Gaza’s access to food, water, medicine and electricity, which Belarra called a “collective punishment that seriously breach international law and may be considered war crimes.”
Belarra, the leader of the left-wing Spanish political party Podemos, accused the United States and the European Union of “encouraging the state of Israel in its policy of apartheid and occupation.”
She said Israel intentionally boosted Hamas to weaken “the secular sectors of the Palestinian resistance.”
“Using the horrific murders of Israeli civilians by Palestinian armed factions as an excuse to justify Israel’s crimes in general and the massacre in Gaza in particular is unacceptable,” Belarra said. “Using Hamas as an excuse to murder thousands of Palestinian civilians, including children, is unspeakable hypocrisy on the part of both Israel and the countries that justify it.”
Belarra went on to urge the Spanish government to launch “a petition to the prosecutor’s office of the International Criminal Court to investigate the war crimes committed in Palestine by Netanyahu,” as well as “those perpetuated by Hamas in Israel and occupied territories against the civilian population.”
Newsweek reached out to the Israeli government, the ICC and the Embassy of Spain in Washington, D.C., for comment via email on Monday.
Philippe Lazzarini, the commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, told reporters on Sunday that “Gaza is being strangled and it seems that the world right now has lost its humanity.”
“Old people, children, pregnant women, people with disabilities are just being deprived of their basic human dignity, and this is a total disgrace,” Lazzarini said. “The siege in Gaza, the way it is imposed, is nothing less than collective punishment.”
Netanyahu is also facing backlash at home from Israelis who consider him to be responsible for the intelligence problems that failed to predict Hamas’ attack.
A poll released last Thursday by Dialog Center found that 86 percent of the Jewish Israelis who responded consider the war to be the result of a failure in Israel’s leadership, while 56 percent wanted Netanyahu to resign at the conclusion of the conflict, The Jerusalem Post reported.