Spanish city councilors call to declare Israeli officials 'persona non grata'
After anti-Israeli moves in the Spanish cities Oviedo and Valencia, the city of Pamplona joins the chorus of condemnations against Israel's 'oppressive policy against the Palestinian people,' calling for a series of measures to be taken against Israel.
Councilors at the city of Pamplona, the capital of the Navarre province in northern Spain, have called on the Spanish government to stop its arms trade with Israel and on their municipality to declare Israeli officials as "persona non grata" until Israel stops its "oppressive policy against the Palestinian people."
The resolution passed by the heads of the factions in the Pamplona municipality also expressed support of the Palestinian right of return and the Palestinians' right to hold a peaceful protest "which has been suppressed with force by the Israeli army."
The Pamplona municipality condemned the IDF for killing at least 100 Palestinians and wounding thousands during the "non-violent" "March of Return" demonstrations and offered its support and condolences to the families of the victims.
The resolution also called on the European Union's governments to increase the pressure and impose sanctions on Israel to force it to stop its "aggression" against the Palestinian people.
They further slammed the US decision to move its embassy to "occupied Jerusalem," describing this move as extremely dangerous and in contravention of international law.
The resolution passed despite receiving no support from the Socialist Party, which holds the majority in the municipality. It was backed by the Basque Nationalist Party, the radical left-wing Podemos Party, and the Communist Party.
The resolution still needs to receive the approval of the municipality plenum.
Israel's Embassy in Madrid condemned the resolution, reminding Pamplona that "The Kingdom of Navarre was the last of the peninsula to expel its Jews, and the Pamplona City Council the first to declare us persona non grata. Navarra 1498: Jews out - Pamplona 2018: We're forbidden from entering."
Navarra 1498: judíos fuera - Pamplona 2018: nos prohíben la entrada.@PamplonaIruna @josebaasiron @fcjecom #judíos #Israel #Pamplona #Navarra pic.twitter.com/7Jibfja6fa— ��������Israel en España (@IsraelinSpain) June 19, 2018
The Pamplona resolution is the latest in a broader trend that the Israeli Embassy has been witnessing in Spain in different aspects—municipal, cultural and academic—which is gaining momentum in light of recent events in Gaza and political changes in the country: the dismissal of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy by a vote of no confidence and the appointment of a new leader, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, from the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (SWP).
The socialists, in order to survive, have to keep the support of their coalition partners—the radical left-wing Podemos party, which has been at the forefront of all Israeli boycott initiatives in municipalities all across Spain and is demanding a tough line against Israel from the government.
Recently, the city of Oviedo, the capital of Spain's Asturias region, decided to cancel a concert of Israel's NK Orchestra, citing political reasons. Oviedo also cancelled an Israeli ballet performance.
The municipality of Valencia, also governed by a left-wing coalition made up of the Podemos party and the SWP, has approved at the beginning of the month a decision to declare itself as a place “clean from the Israeli apartheid,” which will boycott Israel both culturally and economically.
During the vote, 17 out 33 municipality members supported the decision, while 16 opposed. The official proposal expressed solidarity and complete support for the Palestinians while vehemently criticized Israel.
Pablo Iglesias Turrión, the leader of Podemos—the third largest Spanish party—told a TV station that Israel is a criminal state, “Spain needs to act more decisively against an illegal state like Israel...Our party defines the existence of Israel as illegitimate,” Turrión asserted.
ACOM, a pro-Israeli group in Spain, said that Turrión’s sentiments are anti-Semitic since his party does not call any other state besides Israel as “illegal.” The organization announced they have filed a lawsuit against the municipality of Valencia.
The Spanish courts, including the Supreme Court, have dismissed 16 anti-Israeli boycott decisions that were passed at a municipal level. Additional seven municipalities have reversed the decision voluntarily.