Board of Deputies criticises Welsh council for calling Occupation a 'war crime'

Communal body condemned local authority's motion to recognise Palestinian state, thanking Conservative government's pledge to crack down on Israel boycotts


A Welsh council has come under fire for branding the Occupation of Palestinian territories a “war crime” as it reiterated calls for the international recognition of a Palestinian state.

The Board of Deputies condemned the wording of a motion put forward by Gwynedd Council’s Gruffydd Williams, of the ruling Plaid Cymru party, which also called for “the International community to put diplomatic pressure on the State of Israel to end its illegal occupation and not to annex further territory”.

At a full council meeting in December, Cllr Williams said the “annexation” of Palestinian territories was “strictly forbidden under international law, and so would constitute a war crime”.

The motion was passed by a majority of councillors.

On Tuesday, the Board’s senior vice president, Sheila Gewolb, criticised Cllr Williams and Gwynedd Council, saying that such motions “do little to advance the cause of peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but often irresponsibly stir up tensions here in the UK”.

Referring to the new Conservative government’s pledge to ban local authorities from organising boycotts of foreign states, Ms Gewolb added: “The Board of Deputies appreciates the Government’s recognition that responsible local government should have nothing to do with such grandstanding.”

Gwynedd Council previously gained media attention in 2014, when its boycott of Israel was met by accusations of antisemitism from Jewish Human Rights Watch.

A court ruling later found that the local authority had not acted unlawfully.

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