Edinburgh-Gaza twinning proposal withdrawn to allow ‘full consideration to legal matters’
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Edinburgh-Gaza twinning proposal withdrawn to allow ‘full consideration to legal matters’

Edinburgh City Council's Policy and Sustainability Committee was scheduled to discuss a report conducted into a petition calling for the twinning with Gaza on Tuesday morning

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Activist Pete Gregson speaks at a rally held outside the City Chambers on Edinburgh’s High Street on 23 March, promoting his Twinning Edinburgh with Gaza City petition. (YouTube)
Activist Pete Gregson speaks at a rally held outside the City Chambers on Edinburgh’s High Street on 23 March, promoting his Twinning Edinburgh with Gaza City petition. (YouTube)

A report into twinning Edinburgh with the city of Gaza has been withdrawn from the agenda of a council meeting in the Scottish city to allow “full consideration to legal matters,” it has emerged.

Edinburgh City Council’s Policy and Sustainability Committee was scheduled to discuss a report conducted into a petition calling for the twinning with Gaza on Tuesday morning.

Jewish News understands that the petitioner, anti-Zionist activist Pete Gregson, was informed in advance that the decision was taken to “give full consideration to legal matters raised since publication of the agenda”.

The council’s legal team are set to explore the legal implications of potentially twinning the city with a Hamas controlled territory.

Amongst those to raise objections to the twinning move had been the UK Lawyers For Israel group and the We Believe In Israel grassroots campaign organisation.

In a letter to Edinburgh Council, UKLFI had stressed that because Gaza City is “ruled by Hamas, which is proscribed in its entirety under the Terrorism Act 2000…  it is very difficult to see how Councillors or Officers could participate in any twinning activity without committing criminal offences.”

We Believe In Israel director Luke Akehurst had also stated that “Gaza is controlled by the terrorist group Hamas, and this makes it very difficult for councils or civic society in the UK to meaningfully interact with the people of Gaza, without doing this through a filter of Hamas control and lending legitimacy to Hamas and the institutions it uses for its totalitarian rule over Gaza.”

Gregson is a former GMB Union shop steward who was expelled from the GMB in 2019 after claiming Israel was a “racist endeavour” that “exaggerates” the Nazis’ murder of six million Jews “for political ends”.

Last week, at a rally outside the council building he admitted he used the petition process to lodge the twinning petition since 2019, and admitted Edinburgh Action For Palestine had rejected the idea saying to him “you are just going to promote Hamas.”

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