Scottish municipality votes down pro-Palestinian motion

A Scottish municipality voted down a motion comparing Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to apartheid.

The Dundee City Council at its regular monthly meeting Tuesday did, however, note with concern the “ongoing situation in Israel/Palestine” and called for “a just and lasting two-state solution which will bring peace to the region.”

Liberal Democrat Councilman Fraser Macpherson had submitted a motion condemning the Israeli government for “its continuing illegal occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank and the illegal blockade of Gaza.” Macpherson told The Courier newspaper that he had planned to include a call for a boycott of Israeli goods and services but left out that section after receiving legal advice.

The City Council commended efforts made by President Obama and others to promote peace in the region and called on the UK government to show leadership, according to a statement.

“It was accepted that Israelis have the right to live in peace, but the council deeply regrets the disproportionate response of the Israeli military against aid convoys and Palestinian protesters which has led to unnecessary suffering, lasting bitterness and international condemnation,” the statement said.

The council also asserted that “there has never been a ban on buying or lending books by Israeli authors in libraries in Dundee.”

The vote comes less than a month after the West Dunbartonshire Council, consisting of towns and villages west of Glasgow, ordered new books by Israeli authors to be banned from the council’s libraries.

The ban in West Dunbartonshire followed a decision made 2 1/2 years ago following the Gaza war to boycott goods produced in Israel. According to that law, the council and all its public bodies are forbidden to sell goods that originated from Israel.