Tuesday 5 October 2010

Supporting the people of Gaza - an update

In July, I updated residents on my actions in trying to move forward the City Council's support for the people of Gaza - see http://tinyurl.com/dundee-gaza.

As reported in yesterday's Courier, there has been some progress and I paste below the content of a letter to the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign Dundee from the Lord Provost.   Having spoken with the City Council's Legal Manager last week about the legal aspects surrounding a boycott of Israeli goods, I am continuing to pursue this matter.

Petition to Lord Provost and Meeting of 27 July 2010

I refer to the meet we held on the 27 July 2010 and the Petition that was handed over at that meeting. I would apologise for the delay in responding to you, but Officers of the Council have been liaise with other Scottish Local Authorities who you advised us were considering approving a boycott of Israeli companies and goods.

Not buy products from Israel

The City Council's Legal Officers have considered this proposal, and are firmly of the opinion that the City Council could not agree to boycott the purchase of goods and services from Israeli companies. Further, our Officers contacted Legal Officers in Glasgow, Edinburgh and West Dunbartonshire Councils and the first two Councils have firmly confirmed that they would strongly advise their Councils that any such boycott would be unlawful. West Dunbartonshire Council has not replied, despite numerous reminders. In conclusion, I believe the City Council could not agree to your proposal. I would wish to point out that the City Council has not made any payments to Veolia Waste or Eden Springs since 2008.

Fly the Palestinian Flag

At the meeting I advised you that the Palestinian flag has been flown within the City Chambers for many decades. I agree with your compromise suggestion that the Twinning Flags shall be flown in the City Square as soon as arrangements can be made.

The next flotilla

In the event of the next ship leaving Dundee, I would support efforts to deliver supplies and goods to the people of the Gaza Strip.

I would close by offering you my best wishes and hope that your cause will be furthered by the support I am offering on behalf of Dundee City Council.

Yours sincerely

John R Letford

Lord Provost of Dundee