Nearly 14,000 sign petition for Sheffield Council to recognise Palestine

An ‘unprecedented’ 13,743 people signed a petition for Sheffield Council to recognise Palestine as a state.

By Molly Williams, local democracy reporter
Monday, 24 June, 2019, 17:02
Protest to show solidarity with people of Palestine outside Sheffield Town Hall. Picture: Sam Cooper/The Star.

The names will be presented to leader Julie Dore at a full council meeting next Wednesday, July 3.

Protesters will also gather outside the Town Hall at 1pm before the meeting to hear speeches and raise a Palestinian flag.

“While largely symbolic, Sheffield’s recognition of the Palestinian right to statehood would be significant. The UK government has always taken a timid approach under United States pressure but many feel that the tide of public opinion is turning.

“Sheffield would be the first UK council to take this step and set a precedent, just as happened with its recognition of Somaliland as an independent state, which other councils followed.

“Sheffield has a strong tradition of supporting international campaigns for justice, such as the anti-apartheid movement.”

Palestine and Israel have been in conflict for decades, with both laying claim to the same territory. Palestine is not recognised as a state by Israel – but, of last year, 137 United Nations members disagreed with this stance.

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour’s national leader, has pledged to recognise Palestine as a state if the party is elected into power.

Neville Wright, who supported the petition, commented: “Though many of us in Sheffield are currently finding life difficult, much of what we take for granted is a never ending struggle for our Palestinian brothers and sisters.

“Such a small gesture as recognition of the State of Palestine is such a shot in the arm for those facing daily hardship. Sheffield Council does not have to wait for a Labour government, be bold and make this statement now.”

The petition will be presented at a full council meeting on Wednesday, July 3 which starts at 2pm.