Bristol Council lobbies for Israel sanctions

By Jessica Elgot, July 8, 2010

Bristol City Council has condemned Israel's part in the Gaza flotilla attack and called for sanctions against the Jewish state.

No councillor spoke on behalf of Israel during the debate, and the Gaza flotilla was referred to as a "peace convoy".

The Tories proposed a milder condemnation of Israel which was rejected. The resolution was passed with the votes of Lib Dem and Labour councillors, with the Conservatives opposing it.

The final resolution read: "This Council notes the long standing links between Bristol and the people of Palestine through a range of organisations and activities over many years; therefore Council condemns the brutal attack on the ships of the Freedom Flotilla, in international waters, by the Israeli military on Monday 31 May 2010.

"This was a convoy of ships delivering vital humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza. At least nine human rights activists were killed and dozens more injured. Two Bristol citizens, Sakir Yildirim and Cliff Hanley were on one of the ships carrying aid to Gaza.

"We welcome the statement in the Queen's Speech that the UK Government will “continue to work for a two-state solution that sees a viable Palestinian state existing in peace and security alongside Israel,” but call on the Government to hold Israel to account for this illegal action and to ensure that future convoys from Bristol and elsewhere are able to deliver humanitarian aid without fear of an Israeli army attack.

"Council expresses its support for the demand of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan for a prompt, independent and international investigation into the Israeli attack The UK Government to put Pressure on Israel to end the illegal blockade of Gaza and its military occupation of Palestinian land.

"Council expresses its support for sanctions be imposed on Israel until it complies with international law and ceases perpetrating human rights abuses.

"Council expresses its support for an immediate suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement on human rights grounds. An immediate two-way arms embargo between the UK and Israel. Such an embargo would send a clear message to Israel that its actions are unacceptable.

"Council requests the Leader of Council to write to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister in support of the above demands and further requests that the Government issues a blanket exemption to all public bodies to allow them to dis-invest in Countries that flout international law in the above manner."

    Last updated: 10:07am, July 8 2010