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Council backs twinning Newry with Palestinian city Ramallah in show of solidarity

Council will now initiate the twinning process by writing to the Mayor of Ramallah Issa Kassis

Ramallah in Palestine

Newry council is to initiate twinning with the Palestinian city of Ramallah in a show of solidarity.

Over 30,000 Palestinians have been killed during the conflict with Israel following the October 7, 2023 attack by Hamas.

Correspondence from Derry City and Strabane District Council has urged all councils to support a resettlement programme for Palestinian families with a response coming from Newry, Mourne and Down District Council (NMDDC) chambers this week.

Newry SDLP rep, Killian Feehan said: “While I support Derry and Strabane’s motion, I would sincerely hope that the mechanisms Derry and Strabane are proposing would not have to be utilised.

“I say that as someone who has spent considerable amount of time in Palestine over the last 10 years I know first hand that Palestinians would detest the proposal of having to be forced away from their homes.

“Forced displacement has been at the crux of their woes since 1947.

“The proposal I would like to make on the back of the correspondence of Derry and Strabane is that this council initiates the process of twinning Newry with the City of Ramallah, Palestine’s administrative capital.

“Twinning of cities came about as a way of establishing solidarity with other cities who have experienced similar hardships or devastating events.”

He added: “While I would never attempt to draw equivalence between the suffering of Palestinians and our own experiences, their are some parallels between the two.

“The thought behind this is, little help is better than big sympathy.

“We want to make it clear to the Palestinian people that we stand in solidarity with them to recognise their suffering and that we are determined to let the world know that their pain is our pain.

“I propose that this council initiates the twinning process by writing to the mayor of Ramallah, Issa Kassis, indicating our desire to do so.”

Broad support was given to the motion in chambers with 29 elected reps in favour and all unionists voting against it apart from the DUP’s Henry Reilly who abstained.

Image credit: Ralf Lotys (Sicherlich)

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