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Welsh council embargoes Israel over Gaza “savageness”

Asa Winstanley

17dg-gaza.jpg

The Israeli destruction of Gaza this summer shocked many people around the world. Now one local council in Wales is taking action.(Mohammed Asad / APA images)

October 17, 2014

A local council in north Wales last week voted to condemn Israel’s summer war on the Gaza Strip by blocking all trade relations with Israel, local press reported.

News North Wales quotes councillor Owain Williams, who put forward the motion, as condemning the "over-reaction and savageness used" by Israel in Gaza.

Councillors on 9 October voted 42-3 in favor of the motion, with six abstentions.

According to another local press source, Gwynedd council does not do any trade with Israel so the vote is largely symbolic.

However, the vote could set a precedent for other councils around the UK to follow.

Gwynedd council’s decision not to trade with Israel sent the pro-Israel lobby into a rage. Former Jewish Leadership Council leader Jeremy Newmark slammed the council on Twitter:

During Monday’s House of Commons debate that led to Parliament recongnizing the "state of Palestine" (a move strongly supported by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, over which The Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimah signaled a strong note of caution), a local MP signaled approval of the council’s decision.

Hywel Williams, Plaid Cymru (The Party of Wales) member for Arfon, said Gwynedd "has taken a lead in condemning the Israeli Government for the indiscriminate violence used in the recent attacks in Gaza and will not invest in or trade with Israel."

Groundbreaking

Sarah Colborne of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign told The Electronic Intifada today that Gwynedd’s decision was "groundbreaking" and that it was a sign that "the brakes are off post-Gaza" war.

Other local councils around the UK, after pressure from local Palestine solidarity campaigns to boycott Israel, have made more specific decisions not to invest in occupation-linked companies such as Veolia.

But Gwynedd’s motion is the first to have been as comprehensive. Via Twitter, one local Palestine Solidarity Campaign chapter said it was time for other local councils to follow suit:

Welsh-speaking region

With some 76 percent of the population speaking Welsh, the region of Gwynedd is a heartland of Welsh nationalism.

Gwynedd council’s majority group is Plaid Cymru, closely followed by independent nationalists and The Llais Gwynedd (Voice of Gwynedd) group – a breakaway regional movement formed by former members of the left wing Plaid Cymru (Labour and the Liberal Democrats have four and two seats on the council respectively, while the Conservatives have none).

Llais Gwynedd leader Owain Williams, who proposed this motion to boycott Israel, is a Welsh nationalist whose faction broke with Plaid in 2008 over proposed rural school closures.

Williams was jailed in the 1960s over the sabotage bombing of the Llyn Celyn reservoir project. The reservoir was built to supply the English city of Liverpool with water, but faced fierce Welsh opposition since it involved the drowning of Capel Celyn village and several other rural localities.



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:: Article nr. 110263 sent on 04-dec-2014 01:01 ECT

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