Preston City Council reaches out to Palestinian people to offer 'friendship'

Preston City Council is exploring the possibility of extending what it describes as “the hand of friendship” to a town in Palestine as a symbol of sympathy towards the war-ravaged Palestinian people.
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The authority says the gesture is also intended for “the wider Middle East and those of all faiths and communities who are suffering through conflict across the globe”. The move is designed not only to be symbolic, but also a source of practical support for those in need in the chosen town.

More than 30,000 Palenstinians have now been killed in Gaza as part of Israel's military response to the Hamas terror attack on its territory on 7th October, in which around 1,200 Israeli citizens died and more than 200 were kidnapped - many of whom remain in captivity.

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Preston City Council leader Matthew Brown and cabinet member for communities and social justice Nweeda Khan issued a joint statement in which they said: ““Preston is a City of Sanctuary, offering a safe place of refuge to those fleeing war and persecution from across the world, a proud multicultural city, which has become a safe and prosperous home for so many.

Preston City Council has turned ist attention to the people of PalestinePreston City Council has turned ist attention to the people of Palestine
Preston City Council has turned ist attention to the people of Palestine

“As a city we have witnessed the unfolding of events in Palestine and the wider region with horror and our deepest sympathies extend to all those communities and faiths affected by events of recent months.

“While deeply symbolic, a friendship arrangement is not merely a gesture, we will do what we can to offer practical support and aid to those in whichever town we look to develop a formal friendship arrangement with - as well as to all the people of Palestine and the wider region,” the Labour politicians explained.

They added: “Through a friendship arrangement we would seek to build links between local schools, churches, mosques, community centres and other types of organisations. We would hope this will be taken forward in recognition of the importance of the region to the Abrahamic faiths and the need for peace to prevail for all.

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“As an early adopter of the faith covenant, which reflects Preston City Council’s commitment to welcoming the involvement of faith groups and respecting those of differing beliefs and faith traditions to work together for the common good, we will continue to engage with all communities across the city hoping to build peace and friendship for all.

“We are also looking to work with children from local schools -in particular schools of sanctuary - to send messages of hope and peace to form part of a peace wall in the city. We also hope to explore a more formal Twinning arrangement and look forward to a time when we can welcome visitors from Palestine, building bonds and bridges within and between communities. The point of friendship is to create lasting relationships in order to avoid hate and division as this is the spirit in which we are giving consideration to a friendship.”