Declare Amsterdam an anti-Apartheid city: break off cooperation with Tel Aviv
For years, the municipality of Amsterdam has had a partnership with Tel Aviv, located in Israel. According to the municipal executive, this partnership is possible as long as there is no connection with the occupation, the settlement policy or the military apparatus. However, this position has proved untenable. The apartheid and oppression of Palestinians is a fact all over the country, including in Tel Aviv.
The United Nations (UN), human rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW), Israeli NGO B’tselem are a number of authorities that recognize Israel’s policy of apartheid towards the Palestinians, both in the occupied territories and Gaza and in Israel itself. Human rights organization Adalah identifies as many as 65 discriminatory laws. The most important of these concern urban expansion plans, land ownership rights, immigration, marriage options among Palestinians outside Israel. Those discriminatory laws and regulations do not stop at Tel Aviv’s city limits. With the introduction of the so-called nation-state law in 2018 – which states that Israel is the homeland for the Jewish people and not for its Palestinian citizens – Israel has formally enshrined the unequal and discriminatory treatment in its basic laws (functioning as constitution). That also applies to Tel Aviv.
In addition, Human Rights Watch shows in its analysis of Apartheid in Israel that Tel Aviv – as the second largest city – is connected to the settlements by, for example, roads. These are routes that workers use to commute from Tel Aviv to the illegal settlements (and vice versa). But not for Palestinians from the occupied territories. The Israeli economy is inextricably linked to that of the settlements, and therefore also that of Tel Aviv, if only because Israeli companies are prohibited from excluding the settlements. The Israeli Ministry of Defense is located in Tel Aviv, but also, for example, the headquarters of the army.
During the tenure of former mayor Ed van Thijn, Amsterdam was declared an anti-Apartheid city in protest against Apartheid in South Africa. Amsterdam should once again take on that pioneering role and speak out against Apartheid. That starts with the termination of the partnership with Tel Aviv .
We, the signatories, call on the Municipal Executive to immediately terminate this harrowing cooperation. We also call for Amsterdam to be declared an anti-Apartheid city, just as in the past with regard to South Africa.