Worcester could be twinned with Gaza City

WAR-TORN: Gaza City.

PEACEFUL: Worcester.

First published in News Worcester News: Photograph of the Author by , @rvernallsWN #worcsnews

WORCESTER is seeking to twin with war-torn Gaza City in the Middle East.

City councillors have backed a plan to pursue twinning links with Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas, seen by many as a terrorist organisation.

Worcester already has a number of twin towns, with which it arranges exchange trips, encourages links with local schools and sends representatives to take part in local festivals.

In return, members of Worcester’s existing twin towns take part in the Victorian Christmas Fayre.

The idea of twinning with Gaza, put forward by Warndon councillor Alan Amos, received the backing of city councillors on Tuesday night.

They voted in favour of the carefully worded amendment tabled by David Tibbutt: “The City of Worcester invites the City of Worcester Twinning Association to consider twinning Worcester with Gaza City”.

A final decision now rests with the association’s members.

Coun Amos said he felt moved to do something following the Israeli offensive against Hamas earlier this year, which is thought to have killed 1,500 “mostly civilians”, including 450 children. Branding the bombing, “the worst atrocity since the Second World War”, Coun Amos said: “We can do something or we can do nothing.

“This is about offering hope and help to people who have lost all hope.”

Coun Amos said it was “patent nonsense” to call the move anti-semitic.

Allah Ditta, who supported the amended motion, said more practical help could be given through aid donations.

There was only silence in the chamber after Coun David Clark asked if anybody had contacted the people in Gaza to discuss twinning.

“I suspect the people of Gaza have far too much on their mind and I repeat that they would far more appreciate aid than having us twin with them,” said Coun Clark.

“Without exchanges I’m sure it will end up as just a piece of paper.”

The motion was passed with six abstentions and no objections.

After the meeting, Mike Foster, Worcester MP, said: “I understand that people feel very strongly about the situation in Gaza. I’m not sure that the city council should necessarily be spending time debating this though.”

Nevill Swanson, chairman of the City of Worcester Twinning Association, said he was aware of the idea.

“Once we receive a formal letter and have looked at the wording, we are duty bound to consider it,” he said.

The association’s 14-member executive committee will discuss the issue at its next meeting in the Guildhall on Monday, March 9.

The committee is currently working to build links with the Lithuanian town of Ukmerge and has fostered successful agreements with Kleve in Germany, Le Vesinet in France and more recently Worcester, Massachusetts, in the United States.

Mr Swanson said the constitutional purpose of the twinning association was to help learn about other cultures mainly through visitor exchanges and particularly through youth exchanges.

UPDATE: Worcester News Editor Kevin Ward has been interviewed about this running story for BBC Midlands Today. The programme can be seen on BBC1 this evening (Thursday, Feb 26) at 6.30pm.

Comments (17)

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8:53am Thu 26 Feb 09

KM says...

What were amos's intentions?

1, Rank anti-Semitism?
2, to help a troubled area?well the
world is full of those,without the
political and religious ramifications
3, A cynical attempt to procure the "asian " vote.
Could amos please tell us the thinking behind this ill thought out Idea!
Also could we please have the names of all who voted for it.
What were amos's intentions? 1, Rank anti-Semitism? 2, to help a troubled area?well the world is full of those,without the political and religious ramifications 3, A cynical attempt to procure the "asian " vote. Could amos please tell us the thinking behind this ill thought out Idea! Also could we please have the names of all who voted for it. KM
  • Score: 0

9:06am Thu 26 Feb 09

Moggz09 says...

Worcester could send all the aid it wanted but that wouldn't break the cultural barriers or the myths that surround the Palestinians, Hamas and Gaza. This is brave and bold move by Worcester Council and I congratulate them. If only our national government could be so progressive.
Worcester could send all the aid it wanted but that wouldn't break the cultural barriers or the myths that surround the Palestinians, Hamas and Gaza. This is brave and bold move by Worcester Council and I congratulate them. If only our national government could be so progressive. Moggz09
  • Score: 0

9:08am Thu 26 Feb 09

Olga says...

This is yampy - our councils are in place to look after the people they represent. I don't believe (but I can listen to arguments) that our councils should be doing this - it is not their role. The twinning should provide benfits for both communities, and at this time I fail to see what benefits can be afforded to either community.

The situation in Gaza is far too political for a local council to be involved with. I can't pretend to have strong views either way, but the Israelis certainly were heavy-handed and possibly committing war-crimes, but, the indiscriminate rocket attacks were coming from all areas of Gaza. Both sides appear guilty to varying degrees.

This is absolutely yampy and I don't think that our councils should be involved, particularly with such a one-sided view. Unless anyone can put a convincing supporting view forward.
This is yampy - our councils are in place to look after the people they represent. I don't believe (but I can listen to arguments) that our councils should be doing this - it is not their role. The twinning should provide benfits for both communities, and at this time I fail to see what benefits can be afforded to either community. The situation in Gaza is far too political for a local council to be involved with. I can't pretend to have strong views either way, but the Israelis certainly were heavy-handed and possibly committing war-crimes, but, the indiscriminate rocket attacks were coming from all areas of Gaza. Both sides appear guilty to varying degrees. This is absolutely yampy and I don't think that our councils should be involved, particularly with such a one-sided view. Unless anyone can put a convincing supporting view forward. Olga
  • Score: 0

9:08am Thu 26 Feb 09

Moggz09 says...

Someone send KM (comment above) to Gaza; and the others who are criticizing this decision. Then perhaps they'll realise why this is such an important decision.
Someone send KM (comment above) to Gaza; and the others who are criticizing this decision. Then perhaps they'll realise why this is such an important decision. Moggz09
  • Score: 0

9:45am Thu 26 Feb 09

Arky says...

I hope this is not what Worcester Councillors spend all there time doing. Acting political in this way.

Ive heard of two local youngesters dying prematurely on a park bench and in a field recently.




I hope this is not what Worcester Councillors spend all there time doing. Acting political in this way. Ive heard of two local youngesters dying prematurely on a park bench and in a field recently. Arky
  • Score: 0

10:24am Thu 26 Feb 09

On Two Wheels says...

hey lets all get AK47's and some RPG's maybe segregate the city by the river or Abouretum versus wylds lane and fire at each other all day long sounds great fun.
Is there not enough problems in worcester as it is, with cultural integration or lack of,job losses,drugs,Scumbag
s and just general unruliness of teens but i suppose in Gaza they just shoot them (maybe an option here). Can't the councils find better to do with our Taxes.
DO SOMETHING THATS GOING TO MAKE A CHANGE TO THIS CITY TO MAKE IT A BETTER PLACE FOR ALL OF US.
hey lets all get AK47's and some RPG's maybe segregate the city by the river or Abouretum versus wylds lane and fire at each other all day long sounds great fun. Is there not enough problems in worcester as it is, with cultural integration or lack of,job losses,drugs,Scumbag s and just general unruliness of teens but i suppose in Gaza they just shoot them (maybe an option here). Can't the councils find better to do with our Taxes. DO SOMETHING THATS GOING TO MAKE A CHANGE TO THIS CITY TO MAKE IT A BETTER PLACE FOR ALL OF US. On Two Wheels
  • Score: 0

10:31am Thu 26 Feb 09

Tp46 says...

I would like to see how the Councillors voted, their reasons for and against and why some abstained.
Abstention seems a good kop out to me their reasoning being that they can say it "wasn't me who voted 11"
I would like to see how the Councillors voted, their reasons for and against and why some abstained. Abstention seems a good kop out to me their reasoning being that they can say it "wasn't me who voted 11" Tp46
  • Score: 0

10:53am Thu 26 Feb 09

WISHBONE says...

Leave GAZA to the players in that region , B- lair is out there screwing up thier lifes , he will not need need vote chasing nobody from a local council , YOU were voted in to look after THE people in yor WARD , If you want more find a new job with B,lair
Leave GAZA to the players in that region , B- lair is out there screwing up thier lifes , he will not need need vote chasing nobody from a local council , YOU were voted in to look after THE people in yor WARD , If you want more find a new job with B,lair WISHBONE
  • Score: 0

12:22pm Thu 26 Feb 09

Olga says...

Moggz09, Eastnor says...
9:08am Thu 26 Feb 09
Someone send KM (comment above) to Gaza; and the others who are criticizing this decision. Then perhaps they'll realise why this is such an important decision.


Perhaps - we should also send someone to the areas of Jerusalem which suffered indiscriminate rocket attacks - Perhaps

THIS IS NOT AN AREA FOR A LOCAL COUNCIL TO PLAY IN - RATEPAYERS MONEY SHOULD NOT BE USED IN THE AREA OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICS.

Particularly when it is so one sided. In my view this is suggesting the ratepayers fund a narrow political view.

Moggz09 - if you feel so strongly why not start a voluntary collection rather than agreeing with the theft of funds from those who don't want to pay for it?
Moggz09, Eastnor says... 9:08am Thu 26 Feb 09 Someone send KM (comment above) to Gaza; and the others who are criticizing this decision. Then perhaps they'll realise why this is such an important decision. Perhaps - we should also send someone to the areas of Jerusalem which suffered indiscriminate rocket attacks - Perhaps THIS IS NOT AN AREA FOR A LOCAL COUNCIL TO PLAY IN - RATEPAYERS MONEY SHOULD NOT BE USED IN THE AREA OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICS. Particularly when it is so one sided. In my view this is suggesting the ratepayers fund a narrow political view. Moggz09 - if you feel so strongly why not start a voluntary collection rather than agreeing with the theft of funds from those who don't want to pay for it? Olga
  • Score: 0

4:45pm Thu 26 Feb 09

Redcoat says...

Utterly bonkers left wing nonsense you would expect from a militant left London borough. Not Worcester. And this at a time when useful people at the Guildhall are being made redundant.
Utterly bonkers left wing nonsense you would expect from a militant left London borough. Not Worcester. And this at a time when useful people at the Guildhall are being made redundant. Redcoat
  • Score: 0

4:45pm Thu 26 Feb 09

Brass Elephant says...

Nice to know that the elected idiots of Worcester are using our taxes for such good reasons...not.Mr Amos should resign and appologise to the people of Worcester.As much as i sympathise with the ordinary people of Gaza this will not help them in any way.However our beautiful city will have a permenant link to terrorism,war and suffering.Set up a humanitarian fund to help these people but a sign at the city limits telling people who we are twinned with will do nothing.These councillors should be sorting out local issues as is their job mandate.Our roads are third world standard,are hospital is bankrupt,fly-tipping is everywhere,the police are invisible and anti-social behaviour by yobs is everywhere.These councillors should be named and shamed for wasting tax payers money.On Radio2 today Mr Amos said it had not cost any more than we could afford.By even discussing this they are wasting tax payers money,which is nothing for a council with continually puts up council tax while cutting services.I am embaressed by these council idiots.
Nice to know that the elected idiots of Worcester are using our taxes for such good reasons...not.Mr Amos should resign and appologise to the people of Worcester.As much as i sympathise with the ordinary people of Gaza this will not help them in any way.However our beautiful city will have a permenant link to terrorism,war and suffering.Set up a humanitarian fund to help these people but a sign at the city limits telling people who we are twinned with will do nothing.These councillors should be sorting out local issues as is their job mandate.Our roads are third world standard,are hospital is bankrupt,fly-tipping is everywhere,the police are invisible and anti-social behaviour by yobs is everywhere.These councillors should be named and shamed for wasting tax payers money.On Radio2 today Mr Amos said it had not cost any more than we could afford.By even discussing this they are wasting tax payers money,which is nothing for a council with continually puts up council tax while cutting services.I am embaressed by these council idiots. Brass Elephant
  • Score: 0

6:05pm Thu 26 Feb 09

varien says...

Worcester City Council have certainly shot themselves in the foot this time.
Perhaps the WN could publish the names of councillors that voted for this stupidity. Then....come the next local elections --- OUT!!!!
Surely a suggestion of twinning with a town in Zimbabwe would have got more support from the general public.
Worcester City Council have certainly shot themselves in the foot this time. Perhaps the WN could publish the names of councillors that voted for this stupidity. Then....come the next local elections --- OUT!!!! Surely a suggestion of twinning with a town in Zimbabwe would have got more support from the general public. varien
  • Score: 0

7:48pm Thu 26 Feb 09

SUZYQ2 says...

Is this some sort of a joke? Worcester is a beautiful place to live i have moved away from Birmingham and the Black Country for the very same reasons that Cllr Amos seems to be encouraging!? Of all the countries that there are in this world - Gaza???!!! Oh please see sense before its too late!!!
Is this some sort of a joke? Worcester is a beautiful place to live i have moved away from Birmingham and the Black Country for the very same reasons that Cllr Amos seems to be encouraging!? Of all the countries that there are in this world - Gaza???!!! Oh please see sense before its too late!!! SUZYQ2
  • Score: 0

7:59pm Thu 26 Feb 09

mack18 says...

This from the same council who had nationwide publicity after fencing off fruit trees in case someone was hurt by falling fruit!!Somehow I don`t think that health and safety rules would apply in Gaza.
This from the same council who had nationwide publicity after fencing off fruit trees in case someone was hurt by falling fruit!!Somehow I don`t think that health and safety rules would apply in Gaza. mack18
  • Score: 0

9:31pm Thu 26 Feb 09

jb says...

The real question remains that would the people of Gaza be at all interested in twinning with Worcester? At this moment in time maybe they have far more pressing issues on their minds too!! With all the that is going on in the world this has got to be the most time wasting, rediculous, pointless, impractical and idiotic suggestion made by a councillor so far this year. If this is an issue that a local councillor wants to put his time and energy into then it's time for him to stand down.
The real question remains that would the people of Gaza be at all interested in twinning with Worcester? At this moment in time maybe they have far more pressing issues on their minds too!! With all the that is going on in the world this has got to be the most time wasting, rediculous, pointless, impractical and idiotic suggestion made by a councillor so far this year. If this is an issue that a local councillor wants to put his time and energy into then it's time for him to stand down. jb
  • Score: 0

7:29am Fri 27 Feb 09

misha1000 says...

I think the people who proposed this are hopelessly naive.

You don't know what you are injecting yourselves into. Trust me on this.

Hamas are fascists. Check it out for yourselves. If you want to do some good, read this: http://www.nytimes.c
om/2009/02/15/world/
middleeast/15quds.ht
ml

That's where your efforts should be.
I think the people who proposed this are hopelessly naive. You don't know what you are injecting yourselves into. Trust me on this. Hamas are fascists. Check it out for yourselves. If you want to do some good, read this: http://www.nytimes.c om/2009/02/15/world/ middleeast/15quds.ht ml That's where your efforts should be. misha1000
  • Score: 0

1:33am Sun 1 Mar 09

frfdel says...

I was born and brought up in Worcester, but am currently a resident in the Middle East. Yesterday, I could hardly believe that I was reading about moves to twin Worcester with Gaza in my "Arab News" newspaper.

Has Coun. Amos ever been to the Middle East, let alone Gaza? I would invite him to land at a Middle Eastern airport (without the security given to senior politicians)with his Union Jack flag waving, his hand holding a "Gaza twinned with Worcester" plaque and announcing his gesture of goodwill. How many minutes would it take for him to stuff the flag in his pocket, hide the plaque in his suitcase and muffle his English accent? Next to Israel and the USA, the UK follows as the most hated nation in these parts of the world. Could I advise Coun. Amos and like-minded friends to reconsider whether they are biting off more than they can chew?
I was born and brought up in Worcester, but am currently a resident in the Middle East. Yesterday, I could hardly believe that I was reading about moves to twin Worcester with Gaza in my "Arab News" newspaper. Has Coun. Amos ever been to the Middle East, let alone Gaza? I would invite him to land at a Middle Eastern airport (without the security given to senior politicians)with his Union Jack flag waving, his hand holding a "Gaza twinned with Worcester" plaque and announcing his gesture of goodwill. How many minutes would it take for him to stuff the flag in his pocket, hide the plaque in his suitcase and muffle his English accent? Next to Israel and the USA, the UK follows as the most hated nation in these parts of the world. Could I advise Coun. Amos and like-minded friends to reconsider whether they are biting off more than they can chew? frfdel
  • Score: 0

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