British-Palestinian town twinning plans collapse

The twinning of a norther English borough and a West Bank town has fallen through, with public support for the motion considered too low

by The Commentator on 27 March 2013 12:27


Controversial plans for the British borough of Pendle to twin with the Palestinian town of Beit Lid have fallen through, with a lack of public support cited as a key reason.

The plans, as originally reported on by The Commentator, involved twinning the northern borough of Pendle with a town called Beit Lid in the West Bank - the site of the Beit Lid massacre which killed 21 and injured 69 in a Palestinian suicide attack.

At the time, accusations were thrown around on both sides of the argument, ranging from 'Islamophobia' to the wasting of taxpayer resources to make international statements. The latter argument, it seems, has won out.

The twinning was also mired in controversy due to the links between the groups supporting the motion and hardcore anti-Israel elements that included terrorist sympathisers.

The Pendle-Beit Leed group, represented politically as the Pendle for Palestine Twinning group, worked in partnership with the Camden Abu Dis Friendship Association (CADFA), a group led by a man who has expressed support for Khader Adnan - a jailed terrorist leader from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). The PIJ is a banned terrorist organisation under UK law, whose car and suicide bombings have murdered hundreds of Israeli Jews and Arabs.

CADFA itself stands accused of propagandising for the eradication of the Jewish State, with one screenshot of their presentations showing 'Palestine' as the entirety of Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Munir Nusseibeh, CADFA's Chairman, has also led the group in supporting Hana Shalabi, whom they describe as a “political prisoner”. Shalabi is also a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Councillor Tony Greaves said the twinning could not go ahead as the Pendle Twinning Association, which oversees the borough’s links with its twin towns of Creil (France) and Marl (Germany), felt it could not extend its remit.

But he said that moral support could be given and that any delegation from Beit Lid which visited Pendle should be treated with the same moral civility as other visitors were.

Councillor Ann Kerrigan said she could not see any problem with the twinning and said opponents were being “small minded”.

But council leader Councillor Joe Cooney said he had received more correspondence on the proposed twinning than on any other subject – and all of it had been opposed to the council spending time talking about it.

A poll on the Pendle Today website showed 38 percent of people in favour of the twinning, with 68 percent against. 

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