Israel is being charged with “the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people,” according to the mayor of Barcelona, who has cut all diplomatic connections with Israel.
The most immediate result of Mayor Ada Colau’s decision on Wednesday is the termination of the city’s 25-year twinning relationship with Tel Aviv.
But the city’s statement, which has considerable symbolism and is home to one of the most well-known soccer clubs in the world, adds to the rising chorus of people who have called Israel an apartheid state. Israel rejected these charges as antisemitic and delegitimizing and referred to the choice as “unfortunate.”
Colau said that the action was taken in response to a campaign by thousands of people and dozens of local organizations in a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
She mentioned several Israeli actions, such as its 55-year military occupation of the West Bank, its annexation of east Jerusalem, and its development of settlements on territories that the Palestinians claim for a future state.
She wrote, “I cannot be oblivious to the systematic violation of the fundamental rights of the Palestinian community in my capacity as mayor of Barcelona, a Mediterranean city and protector of human rights.
Applying a policy of double standards and turning a blind eye to a breach that has been widely confirmed and documented by several sources for decades would be a grave mistake.
Three well-known human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Israel’s B’Tselem, have recently accused Israel of practicing apartheid within its borders and in the occupied Palestinian territories.
According to Amnesty and other organizations, the same division of the regions where Palestinians reside is a component of a broader control regime intended to uphold Jewish hegemony from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
They cite discriminatory practices within Israel and in east Jerusalem that has been annexed, Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip, which has been governed by the militant group Hamas since 2007, its continued occupation of the West Bank, and the development of Jewish settlements that the majority of the world’s nations consider to be illegal. Israel’s newly elected hard-line.