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Barcelona mayor reverses decision to cut ties with Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv represents "the best of Israel's progressive values," said Jaume Collboni.

Barcelona. Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric/Pexels.
Barcelona. Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric/Pexels.

Barcelona Mayor Jaume Collboni reversed the decision by his predecessor to suspend the Spanish city’s official relations with Israel, including its twinning agreement with Tel Aviv, local media reported on Friday.

Tel Aviv represents “the best of Israel’s progressive values,” explained Collboni, while adding that Barcelona’s commitment to the Palestinian cause was “unequivocal.”

In February, then-mayor Ada Colau released a public letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, announcing the end of her city’s agreement of friendship and collaboration with Tel Aviv, citing “repeated violations of human rights of the Palestinian population.”

“At the request of more than 100 entities and thousands of Barcelona neighbors, I have just communicated to Netanyahu that we suspend institutional relations with the State of Israel due to the repeated violations of human rights of the Palestinian population and non-compliance with United Nations resolutions,” she wrote on Facebook in Spanish, and on Instagram.

Lior Haiat, spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, called the move “unfortunate” and “in complete contrast to the position of the majority of the residents of Barcelona and their representatives in the city council.” The Barcelona city council also rejected Colau’s decision, with her Barcelona in Common party being the sole faction to vote in favor.

Colau was voted out in June after being in power for eight years.

“With the reestablishment of relations, we are also respecting the majority position of the plenary of the Barcelona city council,” Collboni said on Friday.

The restoration of relations with the Jewish state’s second-largest city “is not detrimental” to ties with the Palestinian Authority, Barcelona Commissioner for International Relations and City Promotion Pau Solanilla said on Friday, noting that Collboni’s first official trip outside Europe will be to “Palestine.”

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