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Spain criticises Barcelona for cutting ties with Israel

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Spain criticises Barcelona for cutting ties with Israel
Spain's Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares Bueno speaks with journalists as he arrives for a meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers on November 29, 2022 in Bucharest, Romania. Photo: Andrei PUNGOVSCHI/AFP

The Spanish government on Friday criticised a decision by Barcelona's mayor to cut the city's ties with Israel, calling it a "unilateral move" that would not bring "anything good."

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In a letter to Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week, Barcelona's leftist mayor Ada Colau said she had taken the step due to Israel's "systemic violation" of the rights of the Palestinian population.

Colau, a former anti-eviction activist, cited several Israeli policies including its construction of settlements on lands claimed by the Palestinians for a future state.

"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 organisations," she added.

The largely symbolic measure, which had been requested by dozens of local groups, includes the end of a twinning agreement with Tel Aviv.

Speaking at an event in Barcelona on Friday, Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares called the move a "unilateral decision, and I understand an almost personal decision, by the mayor".

"I believe that Barcelona's vocation is to be an open city, as Spain is," he added.

"I do not believe that anything good is achieved by suspending, cutting, expelling, nor is a dialogue built between Israel and Palestine", he added.

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