The international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has said that a number of major cities in Spain announced their strong support last month for the rights of the Palestinian people. They also condemned the decision of President Donald Trump to transfer the US Embassy to Jerusalem, as well as the recent Israeli massacres in Gaza.
In a report issued by the movement on Monday, it explained that the City Council of the Spanish capital Madrid condemned the indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians and called for an end to the illegal blockade imposed on more than 2 million Palestinians in Gaza.
In Barcelona, the second largest city in Spain, there was support for the Palestinian call to stop arming Israel. The Barcelona City Council voted by an overwhelming majority to impose a comprehensive military embargo on Israel and urged the Spanish government to ensure its implementation.
Valencia, meanwhile, is now the largest city in the world to vote for an “Israeli Apartheid-free zone” and support the BDS movement for Palestinian rights explicitly, along with dozens of other cities in Spain and around the world.
The BDS report pointed out that Pamplona City Council issued a resolution which supports the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and calls on the Spanish government and the European Union to impose sanctions on Israel and cut diplomatic relations. It also expressed its solidarity with the peaceful Palestinian demonstrators who participated in the Great March of Return protests in Gaza, and condemned the Israeli army for killing almost 150 protesters and injuring thousands more.
The cities of Terrassa and Badalona, the third and fourth largest cities in the province of Catalonia, called on the Spanish government to stop arming Israel in light of its recent massacre of Palestinians in Gaza and its longstanding violations of human rights in Palestine. They urged other countries in the European Union and beyond to impose a military embargo on Israel and stop giving it preferential trading and other terms.
“When central governments fail to protect human rights, the municipal councils of cities have a great responsibility and the opportunity to play a historic role alongside justice,” said Anna Sanchez, the international campaign coordinator for the Palestinian BDS National Committee. “Barcelona, Valencia, Pamplona, Badalona and Terrassa have shown how citizens can effectively persuade and move their cities and councils to support the Palestinian struggle for freedom and dignity.”
The report also stressed that the BDS Committee is confident that the number of cities opposing gross violations of human rights will continue to grow throughout Europe and beyond, and will play a crucial role in isolating and ending the Israeli colonial and apartheid regime.
Smaller towns and cities, it has to be said, can also play a role. Trebujena, a small town in Andalusia, declared itself to be a “Zone Free of Israeli Apartheid” last May. The Catalan town of Salt passed a proposal in favour of a military embargo against Israel. More are expected to follow this lead.