World, Europe

Barcelona suspends relations with Israel

Politicians vow to sever ties until there is permanent cease-fire, respect for ‘basic rights’ of Palestinians

Alyssa Mcmurtry  | 24.11.2023 - Update : 25.11.2023
Barcelona suspends relations with Israel


The Barcelona city council on Friday approved a declaration suspending relations with Israel until there is a permanent cease-fire in Gaza and the country “respects the basic rights of the Palestinian people."

This is not the first time Barcelona has cut ties with Israel.

In February 2023, then-Mayor Ada Colau suspended the city’s relationship with Israel and the twin city agreement with Tel Aviv.

However, during elections this summer, Colau lost her position to the socialist candidate Jaume Collboni. In September, he restored diplomatic ties with Israel and the twin city agreement with Tel Aviv.

Friday’s declaration was put forward by Colau’s far-left Barcelona en Comun party and backed by Collboni’s Socialist Party, as well as the left-wing separatist party ERC.

The declaration condemns all attacks on the civilian population, both by Hamas and Israel, as well as “any collective punishment, forced displacement, systematic destruction of homes and civil infrastructure as well as the blockade of energy, water, food, and medical supplies to the population of the Gaza Strip.”

According to Barcelona’s approved statement, the main obstacles to long-lasting peace are “the occupation and colonization of Palestinian territories,” and the “denial of rights” to the people.

Other high-profile members of Spain’s national government, including former minister and current MP Ione Belarra, have called for the country as a whole to also cut ties with Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

That is not the position of the government. On the contrary, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez traveled to Israel and Palestine to meet with his local counterparts on Thursday.

There, he was critical of the Israeli response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks, calling the situation in Gaza a “humanitarian catastrophe,” urging Israel to “respect civilian lives at all costs,” and saying the number of civilian deaths was unacceptable.

He also condemned the Hamas attacks.

Belarra said Sanchez’s trip was “whitewashing” Netanyahu and said he should instead be in Brussels lobbying for the EU to apply sanctions against Israel in the same way the bloc did to Russia after it attacked Ukraine.

Sanchez said his mission was to lay the groundwork for peace talks.

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