Unionists have said they ‘fail to understand’ how the holding of an emergency meeting of the Mid-Ulster Council can have any impact on the ongoing conflict in Gaza.
DUP Councillor Paul McLean’s comments come on the eve of an emergency meeting when councillors will be asked to vote on a notice of motion put forward by Sinn Fein councillor Ronan McGinley.
The motion, which will be discussed tonight [Thurs] calls for “every effort” to be made “to help bring about an immediate ceasefire and implement mechanisms to monitor such a ceasefire agreement, to lift the blockade of Gaza including the immediate deployment of humanitarian aid, and work towards a just and lasting resolution for the peoples of Palestine and Israel.”
Cllr McLean told the MAIL, “I don’t believe as a Mid Ulster Council and in a Northern Ireland context that we at local government can have any impact on what is happening there.”
He continued by saying that while he does not support he loss of life, he believes the motion to be ‘very narrow-minded and sinister’ as ‘Hamas have launched tens of thousands of rockets from Gaza into Israel for many years.’
He added: “While I regret the loss of life, and I regret the manner in which they had to do it, and I emphasise, had to do it, yet I believe they [Israel] have a right, a democratic right to defend themselves and their people.”
UUP Councillor Trevor Wilson said he will be attending the meeting adding that he was “intrigued to see how this notice of motion will pan out with reference to the citizens of the Mid Ulster district.”
The super councillors will be asked to vote for a motion from Cllr. Ronan McGinley which reads:
“That Mid Ulster Council unequivocally condemns the appalling loss of life in Gaza and calls on the International Community, including the Irish and British Governments, the EU and the UN, to intensify its efforts to resolve the situation in Gaza.
“Every effort should be made to help bring about an immediate ceasefire and implement mechanisms to monitor such a ceasefire agreement, to lift the blockade of Gaza including the immediate deployment of humanitarian aid, and work towards a just and lasting resolution for the peoples of Palestine and Israel.”
In a statement, Mr Ginley said: “The appalling situation in Gaza which has left hundreds of people dead, mostly civilians and children, and many more injured must be brought to an end,” said Mr McGinley.
“Many local people have expressed outrage through various means, including protest, use of social media, and calling out to political representatives to show leadership.”
Several demonstrations have attracted hunrdeds of protestors in Dungannon, Coalisland and Magherafelt.