A few days ago, history was made when the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau severed the city’s ties with Israel as a way to express the city’s disapproval of the Israeli government’s violent anti-Palestinian policies as well as their 55 year military occupation of the West Bank. The decision came as a response to more than 100 rights groups and 4000 residents campaigning for the council to cut ties with Israel by organizing an official petition through the Barcelona City Hall, wherein they were able to gather over 4000 signatures.
Beyond the press announcement, the move officially ended a 25-year-old twinning agreement with Tel Aviv and was followed by a letter directed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and in the letter, the mayor expressed how the nation urged her to, “condemn the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people, support Palestinian and Israeli organizations working for peace, and break off the twinning agreement between Barcelona and Tel Aviv.”
Colau hopes that through this suspension of Barcelona-Israeli relations, the Israeli authorities will take action towards ending their system of violations of the Palestinian people. Across the globe, other entities including Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch have also accused the Israeli government of enforcing apartheid policies on Palestinians.
The action taken by Barcelona and Colau was one that was veneered by many including the Sanctions National Committee (BNC) who made a statement regarding the decision, “Barcelona has become the first city council to suspend ties with apartheid Tel Aviv in solidarity with the Palestinian people, a move that is reminiscent of the historic and courageous city councils that pioneered cutting links with apartheid South Africa.”
With Barcelona becoming the first ever city council making such a move, this is considered an important step and may fuel more countries to join in and fight back against the ongoing occupation.