Mid Ulster Council is to investigate ways of ‘implementing the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Campaign against Israel’.
The move follows the adoption of a motion tabled at the monthly meeting by SDLP Councillor Malachy Quinn.
“The SDLP motion was passed tonight despite Unionist objections and a late attempt by UK lawyers for Israel to stop the motion going ahead,” said the Coalisland councillor speaking after Thursday’s meeting.
“I’m an absolutely delighted that the council has passed my motion to implement campaigns as part of the BSD movement. Tonight Mid-Ulster joins Derry City Council and 100s of councils around the world in standing up for people of Gaza and saying to the Israeli Government that we will not ignore the slaughter of innocent men women and children any longer; that we will use whatever power we have to force them to make peace with the Palestinian people.
“We have tried for three months to get this motion heard on the floor of the council and despite Unionist objections and a strange attempt by UK lawyers for Israel to stop this motion it passed by a large majority.
“While I didn’t expect the vote to be cross-community the debate gave us all a chance to talk about an issue that means a lot to people in Mid-Ulster. Everyone in the room wants to see a peaceful and long lasting solution to the crisis in the middle east and the more pressure we can bring on Israel and Hamas the better.”
Ulster Unionist Councillor Trevor Wilson had called on Councillor Quinn to withdraw the motion.
He said the resolution “abuses council resources and time.” “As councillor Quinn well knows neither he nor I was elected to this place because of our views on the Middle East,” he said after the meeting.
He described the resolution as grandstanding.
“Thankfully there are laws in this country that prohibit local councils from discriminating against people because of their nationality and faith,” he said.
“Any attempt to implement the resolution by this council possibly risks legal intervention and damage our reputation.”
Councillor Wilson said the impact on the Middle East of the resolution would be “totally non-existent.”
“All it has done, and will do, is waste council resources, divide our local communities, and deeply alienate the Jewish community and the many friends of Israel in Northern Ireland,” he said.