Madrid offered to replace Barcelona as Tel Aviv’s Spanish twin city, after Barcelona announced it would be cutting ties with Israel, JTA reports.

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau stated on Wednesday that she is suspending all of the city’s ties with Israel, citing what she called “the repeated violations of human rights of the Palestinian population and non-compliance with United Nations resolutions.”

She added that Barcelona will maintain relations with “Israeli and Palestinian entities that continue to work for peace and against apartheid.”

A day later, on Thursday, Madrid’s mayor, José Luís Martínez-Almeida, offered to step up as a replacement.

In a letter to Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai and during a press conference, Martínez-Almeida said the twinning is a “great opportunity to show Madrid’s commitment to strengthening relations with a democratic and a law-abiding state like Israel.”

Martínez-Almeida criticized the Barcelona city council’s decision to sever ties with Tel Aviv after 25 years as twin cities. Barcelona paired with the Gaza Strip at the same time in 1998.

“We will not promote, encourage or allow behavior such as this, which has a clear antisemitic overtone and has no place,” he said, according to JTA.

On Thursday, Tourism Minister Haim Katz sent a letter to his Spanish counterpart, María Reyes Maroto Illera, asking her to reverse Barcelona’s decision.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) foreign affairs bureau, meanwhile, welcomed Barcelona’s decision.

In a statement quoted by the PA’s WAFA news agency, the bureau called on other cities to take similar steps, “given that this step puts pressure on the occupation government to stop all its violations and crimes against the Palestinian people, their land, sanctities, and rights, and to stop all its illegal unilateral measures that undermine peace opportunities.”

Barcelona’s announcement is the latest in a series of anti-Israeli motions that have been adopted on the regional and municipal levels in Spain in recent years.

In June of last year, Catalonia's parliament passed a resolution recognizing Israel as committing “the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people”, and calling on both Catalonian and Spanish governments to not render “aid or assistance” to Israel.

In 2018, the City Council of the Spanish town of Sagunto voted in favor of joining the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, declaring itself an “Israeli apartheid-free space.”

A week earlier, councilors in the city of Pamplona, the capital of the Navarre province, called on the Spanish government to stop its arms trade with Israel and on their municipality to declare Israeli officials as "persona non grata" until Israel stops its "oppressive policy against the Palestinian people".

Prior to that, the city of Oviedo, the capital of Spain's Asturias region, cancelled a concert of Israel's NK Orchestra, citing political reasons. Oviedo also cancelled an Israeli ballet performance.

At the same time, nearly two dozen Spanish municipalities rescinded or suspended pro-BDS measures against the State of Israel.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)