The left-wing mayor of Barcelona who severed ties with Israel and Tel Aviv has been thrown out by the city’s voters.
Ada Colau, the Spanish city’s mayor for the past eight years, lost out to her Catalan nationalist predecessor Xavier Trias in municipal elections last weekend.
Trias, a former Conservative Barcelona mayor, tweeted in Catalan after her victory: “Thanks for the trust. We will make a better Barcelona!”
Trias gained 11 seats, the socialist party’s candidate 10 and Colau nine. Trias is expected to return to office in coalition with other parties.
Colau announced in February she was cutting links with Israel and Tel Aviv, with which Barcelona was twinned, in a letter to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “until the Israeli authorities end the systematic violation of human rights of the Palestinian population.”
View of Tel Aviv (Photo: Alexander Maistern)
She claimed she was doing so in response to requests from Pro-Palestinian groups and citizens.
Speaking in February, Lior Haiat, spokesman for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, called the decision “unfortunate” and “in complete contrast to the position of the majority of the residents of Barcelona and their representatives in the city council.”
He added: “The decision gives support to extremists, terrorist organisations and antisemitism, and impairs the interests of the residents of Barcelona.
“The friendship between Israel and Barcelona is long-standing, and is based on shared culture and values. Even this unfortunate decision will not damage this friendship.”
The Lawfare Project then announced last month they would be filing a lawsuit against the Mayor on behalf of the local charity Barcelona Institute for Dialogue with Israel.
José Luis Martínez-Almeida, the mayor of Madrid later offered his city as a replacement for a Tel Aviv “twinning,” won reelection.