Barcelona Mayor Juame Collboni has restored his city's status as the twin of Israel's Tel Aviv, after the previous mayor suspended these ties, according to local media reports.
These ties were suspended by previous mayor Ada Colau in February 2023, due to what she said was Israeli "apartheid" against Palestinians.
Addressing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a written letter, Colau wrote in February that around 4,000 constituents had petitioned her to “condemn the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people, support Palestinian and Israeli organizations striving for peace, and nullify the twinning contract between Barcelona and Tel Aviv.”
Collboni, who took office on June 17, has taken a different approach to his stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Barcelona, he reportedly said, will continue to support the Palestinians – and in fact, Collboni's first trip outside Europe will reportedly be to the Palestinian territories – but Tel Aviv represents "the best of Israel's progressive values."
Barcelona mayor slammed for restoring twin city status with Israel
However, the new mayor faced backlash from Colau's party, Barcelona en Comu.
Taking to X, formerly Twitter, politician Marc Serra fired at Collboni for giving in to the "Zionist Lobby."
"Collboni has decided to 'embrace' Israel as it goes through its worst democratic crisis," Serra posted, referring to judicial reform, a far-right government, and increased violence against Palestinians.
3/ Ahora Collboni dice que viajará a Palestina... Ojalá no se hubiera precipitado y lo hubiera hecho antes.Si lo hace, verá como en la situación de apartheid actual es imposible que ciudades Palestinas como Gaza quieran hermandarse con quien les ataca. pic.twitter.com/LOQkSWwBCo— Marc Serra Solé (@MarcSerraSole) September 1, 2023
"Now Collboni says he will travel to Palestine, I wish he had done it sooner," he continued, saying that if the mayor does do so, he can witness the "current apartheid situation."
Orge Castellano/JTA contributed to this report.