Statement by Spanish State Palestine Solidarity Groups On Barcelona City Council's Historic Decision Supporting Palestinian Rights
On April 19, 2017, Palestine solidarity groups in the Spanish state issued the following statement on the Barcelona City Council's historic vote to end its complicity with Israel's violations of Palestinian human rights. This statement is translated from the original Spanish statement.
April 19, 2017, Barcelona
Barcelona has taken a step forward in becoming a city free of apartheid
With the support of the groups Barcelona en Comú, Partit Socialista de Catalunya, Candidatura d’Unitat Popular and Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, the Barcelona City Council has today in plenary session passed an official declaration which promotes the inclusion of clauses in contracts to ensure respect for human rights, specifically with companies which are linked to the Israeli occupation in Palestine. The declaration also urges the Government of Catalonia to create a center for study and assessment of the impact of Catalan enterprises investing abroad.
The declaration recognizes the legitimacy of nonviolent campaigns and initiatives promoted by the Palestinian and international civil society to defend Human Rights and International humanitarian law in Palestine. Through this vote, Barcelona City Council puts an end to the complicity of the city of Barcelona with the flagrant, systematic human rights violations of the colonising occupation and expansion of the State of Israel in Occupied Palestinian Territories and recognizes the right to BDS.
This decision comes at a time of increasing Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and the international nonviolent BDS movement with total impunity. Further evidence of this impunity is the report of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) that denounced the apartheid system that Israel imposes on the Palestinian population and therefore called for support of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, as was used against apartheid South Africa. Rima Jalaf, the ESCWA director subsequently resigned on receiving internal pressure to withdraw the report. It is no coincidence in this context that there is a campaign of defamation and criminalization of the nonviolent BDS movement, as shown by the harassment of human rights activist Omar Barghouti, who was recently arrested and interrogated for many hours by the Israeli authorities.
Rafeef Ziadah, member of the International Secretary of the Palestinian National Committee of BDS states: “We salute the Barcelona Municipality and warmly welcome this significant step forward in the Palestinian-led, global BDS movement for freedom, justice and equality for all Palestinians. After 50 years of Israel's military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and decades of its regime of apartheid and settler-colonialism, people of conscience around the world are joining the fast-growing BDS movement in support of the UN-stipulated rights of the Palestinian people. The Barcelona Municipality's recognition of the right to advocate for Palestinian rights through the nonviolent tactics of BDS is not just a triumph for free speech and democratic rights. It is also a clear indicator of the widespread recognition of BDS as an inclusive, inspiring, anti-racist movement that is rooted in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that upholds the basic principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of the humanity."
We celebrate this victory because we believe it to be a great step forward in raising the awareness of the role of local government in the defense of human rights and in breaking the complicity that inherently bolsters apartheid and the occupation of Palestine. This resolution is an institutional recognition of civil society demands for an end to complicity in violations of international law through nonviolent struggle, as practiced by the BDS movement.
We hope that this resolution creates a precedent in Barcelona so that the city goes on to become an Area Free of Israeli Apartheid, as has already happened in 70 local authorities throughout Spain, and becomes a leader in defence of people's freedom and human dignity.