Civil society organizations welcome Barcelona’s suspension of institutional relations with Israel

RAMALLAH, Eight-eight Palestinian, regional and international civil society organizations welcomed the announcement by the Barcelona City Council to suspend all institutional relations with apartheid Israel.

On 8 February, the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu officially announcing that the Barcelona City Council will cut ties with Israel and its institutions, including the twinning agreement with the Tel Aviv City Council, “until Israeli authorities put an end to the system of violations of Palestinian human rights.”

“We salute the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, for taking this courageous, principled, and historic step in solidarity with the Palestinian people, and their right to self-determination,” said the 88 organizations. “Indeed, this decision is a testament to the unwavering commitment of the Barcelona City Council to justice, as it sends a powerful message that Israel’s settler-colonial apartheid regime, and its ensuing human rights violations, will not be tolerated.”

In her letter, the Mayor of Barcelona said: “It would be a severe mistake to apply a policy of double standards and turn a blind eye to a violation that has been, for decades, widely verified and documented by international organizations.”

“Through taking this righteous step, the Barcelona City Council leads by example in respecting international law, rejecting the silence in the face of the ever-growing illegal apartheid regime imposed on the Palestinian people, and ensuring accountability is held. Since the courageous announcement by the Mayor of Barcelona, she has been a target of attacks, including baseless antisemitism accusations, which fall under the ongoing and systematic attacks against any voice mobilizing and demanding the rights of the Palestinian people. These attacks, nonetheless, should, and will not, silence virtuous work towards liberation and justice for the Palestinian people and all oppressed peoples worldwide,” said the civil society organizations.

“Our deepest gratitude and appreciation go to the people of Barcelona as well as grassroots movements, and coalitions who have relentlessly organized, mobilized and advocated for Palestinian rights. This historic action comes in response to the tireless effort and dedication by more than 100 organizations, who launched an official petition under the slogan ‘Barcelona says NO to Apartheid, Barcelona says YES to human rights’. Such solidarity and mobilization by people, grassroots movements and civil society around the world have been uplifting the struggle of the Palestinian people toward freedom and self-determination. We further reiterate our deepest appreciation to the Catalan Parliament for their adoption of a ground-breaking resolution in June 2022, recognizing that the legal regime in Palestine, constitutes one of apartheid,” they said.

“As Israel’s systematic and institutionalized human rights violations and oppression over the Palestinian people are ongoing, alongside the newly-formed Israeli government – which has been determined to put into practice the guiding principles and coalition agreements; concrete steps must be taken to counter Israel’s impunity. We once again salute the people of Barcelona for this ground-breaking moment, and encourage other cities around the world to follow suit in taking this essential step, and use their leverage in ending institutional involvement with apartheid Israel.”

The 88 civil society organizations said, “Dismantling Israel’s settler-colonial and apartheid regime necessitates that the international community takes similar steps and further actions in line with their obligations under international law, including their obligation not to recognize the illegal situation stemming from Israel’s apartheid regime over the Palestinian people and their obligation to not assist the illegal situation and to cooperate to bring this crime against humanity to an end. This includes the recourse to diplomatic sanctions and arms embargo against apartheid Israel, stopping trade with Israel’s illegal colonial settlements, and ending projects and agreements that sustain the illegal situation, including the EU-Israel Association Agreement, the EU-Israel Association Council, international agreements for gas pipes through the Gaza coast, and the Euro-Asia Interconnector project receiving electricity from Israel’s colonial settlement enterprise.”

Source: Palestine News & Info Agency