Following the decision of the local council of Spain's third largest city to declare it an “Israeli apartheid-free zone,” the leader of Podemos, the party behind the motion, called the Israeli state a “criminal country.”
“We need to act more firmly on an illegal country like Israel,” said Pablo Iglesias Turrion during an interview with the RTVE public broadcaster.
It has been some difficult weeks for the Israeli occupation. Shakira canceled her concert in Tel Aviv, Argentina canceled the friendly soccer match with Israel, many well-known and international artists and filmmakers pulled out of the pinkwashing Tel Aviv LGBT film festival, and a wave of cities in the Spanish state have declared their support for the Palestinian cause.
Last week, Valencia became the biggest city in the world to declare itself an “Israeli apartheid-free zone” thanks to a motion proposed by councilor Neus Fabrega Santan in favor of the Palestinian people.
️"El pueblo palestino ha pedido estas medidas a los pueblos de Europa. La mejor manera de luchar contra el apartheid y solidarizarse con Palestina es con los puntos descritos en esta moción."@NeusFaSan en #PleValència #BDSésDDHH pic.twitter.com/KU30afgLKa— València en Comú (@VLCenComu) 31 de mayo de 2018
“The Palestinian people have asked the European peoples for these measures. The best way to fight against apartheid and support Palestine is with the points described in this motion,” said Neus Fabrega.
Now, Valencia's city council has committed to refrain from any contract or cultural event with Israeli authorities or companies.
“By pledging to boycott Israel and publicly declaring themselves to be an Israeli Apartheid Free Zone, businesses such as shops and restaurants, community organizations and local councils can make an important contribution,” said the BDS movement commenting on the news.
Other Spanish cities have expressed their support for the Palestinian people and the BDS movement. Madrid, Spain's capital, and its largest city condemned Israel’s “disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force … against Palestinian civilians” and called for an “immediate end” to the “illegal siege” suffocating 2 million people in Gaza.
Barcelona's city council called for a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel and called on the Spanish state to endorse it. Also, the Catalan cities of Terrassa and Badalona joined the calls by their capital city and demanded Spain and other European governments stop selling arms to Israel.
Pamplona expressed its support for Gazans participating in the Great Return March, calling on European governments to cut diplomatic ties with Israel and passed a resolution supporting the right of Palestinians to return to their home.
“When central governments fail to protect human rights, city councils shoulder an immense responsibility and have the opportunity to play a historic role on the side of justice,” said Ana Sanchez, a member of the Spanish Boycott National Committee (BNC).
“I’m confident that the number of cities acting to oppose all gross violations of human rights will continue to grow across Europe and beyond. They will play a critical role in ending Israeli apartheid.”
Trebujena, a small town in Andalusia, became an Apartheid Free Zone last month as well.