Preston calls on Boris to help defuse tensions in Middle-East

Preston Council is to send a strongly-worded letter to Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab urging them to intervene in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Friday, 21st May 2021, 3:45 pm

Despite a ceasefire which came into force in the early hours of yesterday, the Labour-controlled authority wants the UK Government to summon the Israeli Ambassador in London and urge him to “seek action to defuse tensions.”

The council voted in favour of a motion expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people and condemning the violence against them by Israel.

It also expressed support for Israeli citizens “to live free from the threat of rocket attacks by (Palestinian militant group) Hamas.”

Ten-year-old Rahaf Nuseir outside the ruins of her family home in Gaza.
Ten-year-old Rahaf Nuseir outside the ruins of her family home in Gaza.

The motion, put forward by councillors Pav Akhtar and Yakub Patel, acknowledged that citizens in Preston “can choose to boycott goods and services made by companies that profit from illegal settlements in the Israeli occupied Palestinian territories, or those that sell equipment to the Israeli military, as well as to lobby the UK Government for an end to arms sales and sanctions as well as individual boycotts.”

An attempt by the Conservative group to replace it with a softer, more balanced amendment, was voted down.

Leader Coun Sue Whittam told the council her group felt the motion “had the potential to fan the flames of religious intolerance in our city.”

She said the Labour motion was “one-sided” and added: “There are two sides to every story.”

Boris Johnson is being urged by Preston Council to help ease tension between Israel and the Palestinians.

Preston, she said, was a city of sanctuary which welcomed all faiths and non-faith alike.

“We surely would not wish to see here the type of incidents that have happened in other areas and I do hope for a peaceful demonstration on Saturday.”