5 June 2024

Glasgow Life update on Gaza

Glasgow Life leads culture and sport in the city and delivers events, festivals and programmes on behalf of Glasgow City Council. This includes Glasgow International, which runs from 7-23 June 2024.

Glasgow City Council debated and passed a motion on Palestine and Israel on March 28, which was covered by media at the time.

The motion, which was accepted, is as follows and this reflects Glasgow Life’s position:

Council recalls its emergency motion of 26 October which condemned acts of terrorism in Israel and collective punishment in Gaza and called for a ceasefire in the region.

Council notes that the situation in Gaza has become increasingly dire with starvation imminent for much of the population.

Council continues to stand in solidarity with all of the victims, their families and communities of the on-going siege of Gaza and related violence.

Council renews its call for an immediate and lasting ceasefire and reiterates its condemnation of the Israeli Government and Defence Forces and Hamas.

Council notes the interim order the International Court for Justice in the case brought by South Africa against Israel, which places six binding actions on Israel, including to do all it can to prevent genocide, refraining from harming or killing Palestinians, urgently getting basic aid to Gaza, and to punish any incitement to genocide.

Council further notes that Israel is not enacting these measures and genocide by way of the unjust killing of Palestinian civilians, particularly children, and a growing humanitarian aid crisis have continued uninterrupted, observed by NGO’s such as Amnesty International and Gisha.

Council continues to stand wholeheartedly against genocide. Council believes the ICJ’s ruling places moral obligations on institutions in the UK, including at all levels of Government, to ensure they are not at risk of directly or indirectly supporting genocide.

Council commits to widening the present human rights due diligence process when making awards decisions by bringing a report to the City Administration Committee detailing actions that the council can lawfully take to assure itself of supply chains that do not conflict with international humanitarian law and seek legal expertise where necessary to advise this.

Council would also ask that in the procurement process, organisations making bids to Glasgow City Council are able to provide evidence of best practice in relation to their operations to ensure they are operating in a manner that protects the human rights of those directly and indirectly involved or affected by the organisations operations.

Council further requests that this report considers an assessment of current Council procurement contracts which include goods or services which have been wholly or partly manufactured, assembled, or operated by companies operating in the occupied territories, as per the updated United Nations database of business enterprises in relation to the Occupied Palestinian Territories. This initial assessment would seek to provide a base understanding of the Council supply chain, acknowledging that the aforementioned database is continuously changing.

Council also agrees that similar commitments should be made by the Scottish and United Kingdom Governments.

Council endorses the Scottish Government's call for an arms embargo on Israel and requests that the Leader of the Council to write to the Foreign Secretary to request that the UK Government introduces such an embargo, takes additional steps as required to ensure the UK is not at risk of directly or indirectly supporting genocide, and to encourage him to join countries across the international community in supporting the South African case in the International Court of Justice.

Council also supports comments made by the Foreign Secretary that he is considering recognising Palestine as a state and will ensure this view is reflected in the letter referred to above.

Additionally, the Council requests that the Leader of the Council to write to the First Minister to encourage him to act in all possible capacities to prevent the production and transfer of weapons and weapon components from arms companies in Scotland to Israel or their allies.

Council commends the work of numerous organisations in Glasgow campaigning for divestment from the arms trade, particularly noting the work of various student campaigns across Glasgow that are encouraging their respective institutions to divest from the arms trade. Council asks elected members who sit on the boards, courts or senates of universities and other educational trusts and funds to use their position to advocate for divestment from arms.

Council expresses its solidarity with our twin city of Bethlehem, which while not at the core of the current violence, has been the target of raids and a very long occupation.

Council requests that the Lord Provost, on behalf of the Council, shares a message of solidarity and condolence with the Mayor of Bethlehem.

Council also requests that the Lord Provost adds to the flag policy the Palestinian flag to be flown on 29 November each year for the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, as is observed by the United Nations.

Council requests a paper be brought to CAC to explore the financial relief that Glasgow could offer Palestinians in Gaza by way of Medical Aid for Palestine, similar to the financial relief offered to Ukraine in a meeting on 10th March 2022.

Council acknowledges that as this situation continues to escalate, that antisemitism towards Jewish people continues to be on the increase.

Council condemns antisemitism and agrees that all Jewish people deserve to live without harassment and discrimination.

Council notes that the Jerusalem Declaration of Antisemitism was developed by a cross-community group of academics to sit alongside the previously adopted International Holocaust Remembrance Association (IHRA) definition on antisemitism.

Council agrees to engage with Jewish representative groups including Scottish Council of Jewish Communities and Na'amod to demonstrate ongoing support in the fight against antisemitism and to take their views on whether the Jerusalem Declaration and other actions could strengthen this work.

Similarly, the council acknowledges the distressing rise in Islamophobia and condemns those who indulge in it while standing with the Muslim community at this difficult time.

Council welcomes the decision of the UN Secretary General in his call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

To achieve this, Council calls for:

  • An end to rocket fire into and out of Gaza.
  • The unconditional release of hostages held by Hamas and of Palestinian citizens held without charge or trial under Israeli military and civil detention.
  • Essential supplies of water, food, medicine and electricity to be restored to Gaza, and the passage of aid into Gaza facilitated.
  • A pathway to a peace process.

Council reaffirms its support for a lasting and peaceful political solution and recognises that long-term security for Israelis and long-term justice for Palestinians will only be achieved through a political, rather than military settlement.