Barcelona Mayor Suspends Twinning with Tel Aviv

The Mayor of Barcelona recently suspended the bureaucratic relations of the Spanish city with Israel, particularly a twinning with the Israeli capital Tel Aviv.

She claimed that they had decided to make this move because of the systematic violation of the human rights of Palestinians by Israel.

It remains unclear if the city council will give its approval for the suspension.

The Mayor’s decision

On Wednesday, Ada Colau, the left-wing mayor of the city of Barcelona sent a letter to Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel.

She elaborated the reason behind the decision to end twinning between the two cities, which a pro-Palestinian group in Barcelona had demanded in a petition.

Since 2015, Colau has served as the mayor of the Catalan capital and said that she was suspending relations with the official institutions of the State of Israel temporarily.

She also said that the twinning agreement they had with the Tel Aviv municipality would also be suspended.

She added that this would continue until the Israeli authorities agree to put an end to the systematic violation of the Palestinian’s human rights.

The mayor said in her missive that distinguishing the policies of a state from its culture and Jewish population was necessary, which was Israel in this case.

The announcement

Colau announced the move in a press conference and said that more than 4,000 citizens and over 100 organizations had asked her to take a stand for the Palestinians’ human rights.

She stated that in her letter to the Israeli premier, she had mentioned the demands that had been made to her in the petition.

They included condemning the apartheid against Palestinians, breaking off the twinning agreement between the two Mediterranean cities and supporting Israeli and Palestinian organizations that are dedicated to peace.

She added that were hoping the suspension would be temporary because they had taken this step to lead to reflection and action.

She also added that the city had also ended its twinning with Saint Petersburg in Russia because of the conflict with Ukraine.

The details

End Complicity with Israel is the lobby group that put forward the initiative of ending twinning with Tel Aviv.

According to the lobby group, 112 social entites support it, which include LGBT+, immigrant, feminist and pro-Palestinian organizations.

There will be a vote conducted on the suspension measure on February 24th in a city council session, but the group had asked the Barcelona mayor to take a step earlier.

It was initially scheduled for a vote last month in a previous meeting of the city council, but it had been delayed because the meeting was on International Holocaust Memorial Day.

However, reports show that the measure of suspension is unlikely to receive approval at the council meeting because it is not supported by the mainstream right and left-wing parties.

It remains unclear if the mayor herself has the authority of imposing the suspension. Spain’s Federation of Jewish Communities (FCIE) referred to the measure as ‘sophisticated antisemitism’.

It also said that the measure did not represent the city or the people of Barcelona.

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