The Mayor of the Spanish city of Barcelona, Ada Colau, on Wednesday announced that she is suspending all of the city’s ties with Israel, JNS reported.
“At the request of more than 100 entities and thousands of Barcelona neighbors, I have just communicated to [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu that we suspend institutional relations with the State of Israel due to the repeated violations of human rights of the Palestinian population and non-compliance with United Nations resolutions,” she wrote on Facebook in Spanish, and on Instagram, according to the report.
Colau added that Barcelona will maintain relations with “Israeli and Palestinian entities that continue to work for peace and against apartheid.”
The Palestinian Arab BDS National Committee hailed the decision, writing on Twitter, “We call on institutions worldwide to follow suit and end ties with apartheid Israel!”
“With the current Israeli government, the most far-right, racist, sexist and homophobic ever, accountability is more needed than ever to end its impunity and #DismantleApartheid,” the group posted on its website. “We call on institutions worldwide to follow in Barcelona’s footsteps and end their own involvement in sustaining Israeli crimes against humanity.”
Lior Haiat, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responded to Barcelona’s decision in a post on Twitter. He called the decision “an unfortunate decision that stands in complete contrast to the position of the majority of the residents of Barcelona and their representatives in the city council.”
“The decision gives support to extremists, terrorist organizations and anti-Semitism, and impairs the interests of the residents of Barcelona,” added Haiat.
“The friendship between Israel and Barcelona is long-standing, and is based on shared culture and values. Even this unfortunate decision will not damage this friendship,” the spokesman concluded.
“The decision gives support to extremists, terrorist organizations and antisemitism, and impairs the interests of the residents of Barcelona,” he added. “The friendship between Israel and Barcelona is long-standing, and is based on shared culture and values. Even this unfortunate decision will not damage this friendship.”
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.