No flags flown at Guildhall as councillors unite to call for Middle East resolution - The Worcester Observer

No flags flown at Guildhall as councillors unite to call for Middle East resolution

Worcester Editorial 26th Oct, 2023   0

WORCESTER’s councillors have vowed neither the Israel or Palestinian flag will be flown over the Guildhall and called for a speedy resolution to the bloodshed.

In a cross-party show of support, all four group leaders said the decision to fly either flag would be the ‘wrong message and potentially divide communities rather than bring people together’.

The statement from Labour’s Coun Lynn Denham, Green Party Coun Majory Bisset, Conservative Coun James Stanley and Coun Mel Allcott of the Liberal Democrats was released as tensions in the Middle East continue to rise.

More than 1,400 were killed in the initial attacks on Israel by Hamas on October 7 and more than 200 people are still being held hostage in Gaza

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says almost 6,500 people have been killed since October 7.

“We, like so many other people across the world, have been deeply aware of the current conflict in Israel and Palestine and our hearts go out to all those innocent communities on both sides who are suffering,” the statement read.

“The events that have unfolded in recent weeks have seen countless lives lost and families destroyed in terrible bloodshed.”

“We have received a number of requests for the City Council to fly the Palestinian flag. As the political leaders of the City Council, we have discussed how best to respond to these requests during the current conflict.

“We have come to the agreement that to fly a flag in support of either side would send out the wrong message and potentially divide communities rather than bring people together.

“We remain concerned about the well-being of all of our communities in Worcester and want to do everything that we can to support people during this challenging and difficult time.

“Our thoughts and prayers remain with all the innocent victims of this conflict and we hope very much for a peaceful and speedy resolution to the current situation.” it added.

In addition to the joint message, Coun Denham added the ‘escalating loss of innocent life, and the pain and suffering is almost unbearable’.

“We are very concerned about the impact of the tragic events in Israel and Gaza on our communities in this country,” she said.

“We care deeply about equality, diversity and inclusion. We do not support those who are attempting to sow hatred and division in this country.”

In response to the urgent calls for humanitarian aid, Worcester Labour councillors are making a collective donation to the Red Cross and Red Crescent teams who are on the ground supporting communities in Gaza, Lebanon, West Bank and Israel.

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