Renfrewshire Council one of the first local authorities in Scotland to fly Palestinian flag

John Kelly addresses the crowd at a recent Paisley4Palestine rally, with a Palestine flag and 'ceasefire now' placard
John Kelly addresses the crowd at a recent Paisley4Palestine rally -Credit:Paisley for Palestine

Renfrewshire has become one of the first councils in Scotland to commit to flying the Palestinian flag as it seeks to show Gazans “they have not been forgotten”.

Elected members of the local authority this week voted to fly the flag above Renfrewshire House every second month in a bid to show their support for the Palestinian people and their right to self determination.

The proposal was put forward by independent councillors Eddie Devine and Andy Doig and won the support of the SNP at a full meeting of Renfrewshire Council.

It means the flag will be flown from Renfrewshire House bi-monthly, alternating with the Ukrainian flag.

Councillor Devine told the Paisley Daily Express: “It is a small gesture but a necessary one to show the Palestinian people that they have not been forgotten.

“I recognise this is a highly emotive issue. But as we sit here, Israel still intends to pursue its incursion into Rafah where half a million children are sheltering. It will be a bloodbath.

Independent councillor Eddie Devine
Independent councillor Eddie Devine -Credit:Renfrewshire Council

“We need a ceasefire. There is a time when you have to talk to the other side, no matter how unpalatable it may be. The only way this will be resolved will be through political means, by talking.”

The motion put before the council on Thursday asked Renfrewshire Council to recognise the Palestinian people’s right to self determination.

Moved by Councillor Devine and seconded by Councillor Doig, it stated: “Renfrewshire Council notes that the state of Israel is a signatory to the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article One of which supports the right of national self-determination for all peoples.

“This council regrets the UK’s recent abstention on the UN Security Council, thereby failing to grant the Palestinian people full UN membership, and applauds the majority of UN members who officially recognise Palestine.

“Council accordingly resolves, in solidarity with this objective, to fly the Palestinian flag, on a bi-monthly basis with the Ukrainian flag.” The motion was approved after amendments moved by the Labour and Conservative groups were voted down. Neither amendment proposed flying the Palestinian flag at council headquarters.

John Kelly, a founding member of Paisley4Palestine, said he was grateful to councillors for backing an integral part of its campaigning for many months. He said: "We welcome this great message of solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine.

“Renfrewshire Council is leading the way here, I think that they are the first council in Scotland to show such solidarity. Well done to them, clearly reflecting public opinion, unlike most other authorities across the country.

“On Thursday morning, myself and eight other members of Paisley4Palestine lobbied the councillors before they went into the meeting and we valued the opportunity to have a pleasant and respectful conversation on what we recognise is a very sensitive issue.”

Paisley4Palestine has flown the Palestinian flag outside Renfrewshire House as part of its demonstrations in the town
Paisley4Palestine has flown the Palestinian flag outside Renfrewshire House as part of its demonstrations in the town -Credit:Paisley for Palestine

He added: “We look forward to the raising of the flags and sending a clear message of ‘not in our name’ in relation to the terrible slaughter being carried out by the Israeli state.”

The news comes as West Scotland MSP Ross Greer called on the UK Government and other countries around the world to halt arms exports to Israel.

The Scottish Greens external affairs spokesperson said: “The evidence of Israel’s war crimes is overwhelming and unquestionable, and everyone who has chosen to arm and support the Israeli government has made themselves complicit in the killing.

“Israeli forces have shown total contempt for international humanitarian law and the rights of Palestinians. They have used an arsenal of high-tech weaponry to knowingly inflict some of the most horrific crimes of the 21st century, often recording and publishing the evidence of their own crimes for the world to see. No one can claim they were unaware.”

The Israeli Government says it is acting within international law and is continuing to defend itself against Hamas.

Almost 35,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s retaliation offensive following the October 7 attacks which saw Hamas kill more than 1,000 Israelis and take 250 people hostage.

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