The undersigned 88 Palestinian, regional and international civil society organisations welcome the historic announcement by the Barcelona City Council to suspend all institutional relations with apartheid Israel. On 8 February 2023, the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, sent a letter to 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. 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: “[i]t 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”. 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 mobilising 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.

Our deepest gratitude and appreciation go to the people of Barcelona as well as grassroots movements, and coalitions who have relentlessly organised, mobilised and advocated for Palestinian rights. This historic action comes in response to the tireless effort and dedication by more than 100 organisations, who launched an official petition under the slogan “Barcelona says NO to Apartheid, Barcelona says YES to human rights”. Such solidarity and mobilisation by people, grassroots movements and civil society around the world have been uplifting the struggle of the Palestinian people towards 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, recognising that the legal regime in Palestine, constitutes one of apartheid.

As Israel’s systematic and institutionalised 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.

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 recognise 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.

List of endorsing organisations:

  1. Adalah Justice Project
  2. Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association
  3. Agir Ensemble Pour Les Droits De L’Homme
  4. Al-Dameer Association For Human Rights
  5. Al-Haq, Law in the Service of Man
  6. Arab Cause Solidarity Committee (CSCA)
  7. Arab Organization for Human Rights (AOHR)
  8. Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC)
  9. Asociacion Paz con Dignidad
  10. Association Belgo-Palestinienne
  11. Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine (AURDIP)
  12. Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS)
  13. Association Swiss Palestine
  14. Assopace Palestina
  15. Australian Centre for International Justice
  16. Baladna - Association for Arab Youth
  17. BDS Berlin
  18. BDS Greece
  19. BDS Italia
  20. BDS Vancouver/Coast Salish Territories
  21. Belgian Academics and Artists for Palestine
  22. BIZILUR - Lankidetzarako eta Herrien Garapenerako Erakundea
  23. Bridges for Yemen
  24. Campagne BDS France Montpellier
  25. Campagne Civile Internationale pour la Protection du Peuple Palestinien (CCIPPP34)
  26. Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME)
  27. CJPME Saskatoon
  28. Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid
  29. Coalition for Jerusalem
  30. Collectif Judéo Arabe et Citoyen pour la Palestine
  31. De-Colonizer
  32. Defence for Children International/Palestine
  33. docP - BDS Netherlands
  34. European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine - ECCP
  35. Finnish-Arab Friendship Society
  36. Fundación Mundubat
  37. Gaza Action Ireland
  38. General Union of Palestinian Women
  39. Good Shepherd Collective
  40. Groupe d’Amitié Islamo-Chrétienne (GAIC)
  41. Housing and Land Rights Network - Habitat International Coalition
  42. Human Rights and Democracy Media Center “SHAMS”
  43. Independent Jewish Voices Canada
  44. International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD)
  45. Intersindical Alternativa de Catalunya
  46. Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC)
  47. Islamophobia Studies Center
  48. Jewish Voice for Peace
  49. Jews 4 Palestine-Ireland
  50. Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
  51. Just Peace Advocates/Mouvement Pour Une Paix Juste
  52. Justice for Palestinians, Calgary
  53. MRAP, Mouvement contre le Racisme et pour l'Amitié entre les Peuples
  54. Nederlands Palestina Komitee
  55. Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees - Fagforbundet
  56. NWRG odv, Italy
  57. Oakville Palestinian Rights Association (OPRA)
  58. Occupied Palestine and Syrian Golan Advocacy Initiative (OPGAI)
  59. Palestine Solidarity Campaign (UK)
  60. Palestine Solidarity, St. John’s NL
  61. Palestine-Global Mental Health Network
  62. Palestinian and Jewish Unity (PAJU)
  63. Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)
  64. Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions - Gaza (PGFTU - Gaza)
  65. Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (Stop the Wall)
  66. Palestinian Postal Workers Union
  67. Project South
  68. Regina Peace Council
  69. Sadaka - the Ireland Palestine Alliance
  70. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
  71. Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
  72. The Association of Norwegian NGOs for Palestine
  73. The Canadian BDS Coalition
  74. The Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem
  75. The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) UK
  76. The Norwegian Committee for Academic and Cultural Boycott of the State of Israel (AKULBI)
  77. The Palestine Committee of Norway
  78. The Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy (PIPD)
  79. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)
  80. The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy - MIFTAH
  81. The Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC)
  82. U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN)
  83. UK-Palestine Mental Health Network
  84. Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC)
  85. United Methodists for Kairos Response (UMKR)
  86. US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
  87. Viva Salud
  88. Women in Black Vienna