Campaigners welcome Sheffield Council's commitment to recognise Palestine as a state

Campaigners have welcomed Sheffield Council’s pledge to be the first authority recognise Palestine as a state as they hold a new photography exhibtion.

Monday, 8th July 2019, 12:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th July 2019, 8:30 am
Julie Pearn, chairman, of Sheffield Labour Friends of Palestine and Coun Adam Hurst, pictured by the exhibition in the Winter Garden. Picture: Marie Caley

Julie Pearn, chairman of Sheffield Labour Friends of Palestine, said it was ‘fantastic’ that Sheffield Council had pledged to recognise the state.

It comes after the group staged a celebration outside Wednesday’s full council meeting and handed in a petition with almost 20,000 signatures.

Julie Pearn, chairman, of Sheffield Labour Friends of Palestine and Coun Adam Hurst, pictured by the exhibition in the Winter Garden. Picture: Marie Caley

Ms Pearn said: “Sheffield will be the first city council to recognise Palestine as a sovereign state. It follows a Parliamentary vote in 2014 but it’s never gone further than that.

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“The Government has been reluctant to take any action so the fact that a core city like Sheffield has stepped up is fantastic.”

The group is holding an exhibiton in the Winter Garden until Friday, displaying United Nations photographs to illustrate life in Palestine.

Campaign for Palestine gathered outside Sheffield Town Hall on Wednesday. Picture: Steve Ellis

Ms Pearn said they’d already had a ‘brilliant' response from members of the public.

Councillor Olivia Blake, deputy leader, said a motion would now be put forward for the council to make a decision.

She said: “We must give recognition of the right for all communities to have their own sovereign states.

Campaign for Palestine gathered outside Sheffield Town Hall on Wednesday. Picture: Steve Ellis

“Sheffield is just one city but we can make this symbolic gesture and hope to put pressure on government to do likewise.”

Ms Pearn added: “It’s very good news, it’s very positive and we think it’s a very significant step.

“We hope that other city councils will take the same courageous step.”

Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem, divided from the Olive Groves and the city by a 9m high wall.

The Winter Garden exhibition runs until Friday, July 12.

For more information search Sheffield Labour Friends of Palestine on Facebook.