Barcelona Council Rejects Mayor’s Decision about un-twinning with Tel Aviv

On Wednesday, the city council of Barcelona rejected the decision of Ada Colau, the left-wing mayor, to suspend the twinning deal with the Israeli capital of Tel Aviv.

However, since a decree approved the mayor’s move, the councilors do not have the authority to overturn her decision. This means that the rejection was a symbolic one.

The decision

A city council session is scheduled to take place on February 24th where a vote will be held on the decision.

While the debate was taking place in the Catalan capital, a bunch of pro-Palestinian protestors came together and waved Palestinian flags. They also chanted against apartheid.

In a blow to the Barcelona mayor, only her party voted in favor of supporting the move. All factions also rejected another proposal, with the exception of the mayor’s party.

This proposal was aimed at strengthening the ties of Barcelona with Palestinians, along with human rights organizations that are making efforts against the ‘occupation’.

According to reports, the Israeli embassy located in Spain had gotten in touch with a number of figures in Catalonia and Barcelona ahead of the vote on the proposals in order to oppose them.

The reaction

After the latest development on Wednesday, a diplomatic official from Israel expressed their satisfaction.

They said that the Barcelona mayor had gone against the city council and had not taken the residents’ will into account because of antisemitism and hatred.

They added that they were pleased with the results of the vote. The mayor had come to her decision last week.

She had announced that Barcelona was suspending institutional ties with Israel and would also end its twinning agreement with Tel Aviv.

As for the reason, Colau had said that it was because of Israel’s violation of the human rights of Palestinians.

The background

Colau had penned a letter to the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in which she had elaborated her reasons for suspending the mostly symbolic twinning deal with Tel Aviv.

She revealed that pro-Palestinian groups in Barcelona had submitted a petition in which they had made this demand.

Colau has had the position of Barcelona mayor since 2015. She had said that relations were temporarily suspended with Israel and official institutions.

She had particularly referred to the twinning agreement that Barcelona has with the municipality of Tel Aviv.

The mayor had added that the aim was to see some action from Israel on the matter in order to put an end to the human rights violation.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Madrid, another Spanish city, had called out Colau for her antisemitism via a tweet.

Mayor Jose Martinez-Almeida said that he had reached out to the Tel Aviv mayor, Ron Huldai, and had offered to establish a twinning agreement with the city, if Barcelona was breaking ties.

The mayor is known for his conservative stance and said that the decision of Barcelona’s mayor did not reflect that of its people.

He also said that Madrid was in support of Israel, which was democratic and had not committed any violations.

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