Palestine flag


Twinning Association

رابطة توأمة نابلس دندي


Recognition of Palestine

At its meeting on 26th April 2021, Dundee City Council passed a motion to recognise the state of Palestine. We believe this is the first such motion by a council in Scotland.

All Councillors who spoke expressed their sympathies for the Palestinians living under occupation and expressed support for the twinning between our two cities. Three Councillors wanted to defer the timing of recognition to a decision by the UK government. But their amendment to this effect was rejected and the motion to recognise the state of Palestine was carried overwhelmingly (by 23 votes to 3).


[With Coronavirus restrictions still in force, the meeting, all contributions and listening members of the public were present through video conferencing.]

Mike Arnott made a presentation on behalf of the Dundee Trades Union Council who had made the request for the motion. He spoke about the history of the twinning, its impact and importance.

Mary McGregor, on behalf of DNTA described the continuing strength of the twinning and described Dundee as a city steeped in humanitarian values. This motion would be a beacon of hope to the Palestinians and would show commitment to justice.

Dr Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian Ambassador expressed thanks to Dundee for its original decision in 1980 and for its continuing support for the twinning with Nablus. He described his visit to Dundee in 2019, meeting former MP Ernie Ross and others involved from the start. He described the plight of the Palestinians living under occupation because the international community was refusing to recognise their rights. This motion would be a welcome gesture of support.

Reaction in Nablus

Flags and people

In Nablus, the Municipality erected Scottish Flags outside the Town Hall and stood to thank Dundee for its support.

Reaction in London

Flags and people

The Palestine Mission to the UK (based in London) also expressed thanks for the motion by Dundee City Council. They tweeted about it and issued a Press Release.

Ambassador Husam Zomlot, the head of the Palestinian Mission, thanked the city council members and Dundee Trade Union Movement for their support by filing the motion.
He said: “Recognition of Palestinian statehood by you here today would, I hope, mark the beginning of the end of one of the world’s longest-lasting and most egregious injustices.”
Dr. Zomlot added that the vote is a significant step in supporting Palestinian rights in the UK.

Role of DNTA

The DNTA Committe was asked to respond to a request by Dundee Trades Union Council. On behalf of their trades union members, they have asked Dundee City Council to pass a formal motion to recognise the state of Palestine during this year which marks 40 years of twinning between our two cities.

The DNTA is non-political but welcomes any steps which would advance and recognise the human rights of our Palestinian friends in Nablus. Enshrined in international law, self determination is a universal inalienable right, a right which the Palestinian people have been unjustly denied.

When we talk or listen to our friends in Nablus they tell us about restrictions and suffering as they continue to live under a long-standing military occupation. When your friends tell you of their suffering, you want to help.

Debate in the House of Commons

The proposed motion would add to the growing pressure on the UK government to recognise Palestine following the 2014 vote in parliament in favour of recognition. The debate in the House of Commons on 13th October 2014 resulted in members voting by 274 to 12 to resolve:

"That this House believes that the Government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel, as a contribution to securing a negotiated two state solution."
The UK Government responded (in the House of Lords, 15th October 2014) saying:
"the UK is committed to seeing an independent Palestinian state. We will recognise a Palestinian state at a time of our choosing, when we think it can best bring about peace. A negotiated end to the occupation is the best way to meet Palestinian aspirations on the ground."

Request from Dundee Trades Union Council:

Motion to recognise the State of Palestine

To; Lord Provost Borthwick, Cllr Alexander, Cllr Keenan,

Dundee Trades Union Council requests that, in this 40th anniversary year of Dundee’s twinning with the Palestinian City of Nablus, Dundee City Council formally demonstrates its recognition of the right of Palestinians to their own state by adopting a motion along the following lines:

That this Council:-

  • is proud of the decision it took over 40 years ago to twin with the City of Nablus in the Occupied West Bank of Palestine, as a contribution towards establishing a peaceful and diplomatic route for Self Determination for the Palestinian people.
  • believes that there must be recognition of the rights of Palestinians to their own state;
  • notes that 138 nations of the UN, out of 193 (71.5%), recognise Palestine as a state.
  • notes that the current UK Government appears to have no intention of recognising Palestine as a full state as part of the United Nations and under UK law;
  • believes that the recognition of Palestine as a state is one step towards a genuine solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict;
  • believes there has to be a peace process and there has to be a right of the Palestinian people to live in peace and security as well as the right of the Israeli people;
  • believes that Dundee should join the City of Sheffield in making this symbolic gesture to formally recognise Palestine as a full state, and hope that this will increase pressure on the UK Government to do likewise; and
  • requests that this Motion is submitted to the Foreign Office, the Prime Minister and the First Minister.

Sincerely, on behalf of the delegates and affiliated Trade Unions of Dundee TUC,

Mike Arnott
Dundee Trades Union Council

DNTA Letter to Dundee City Council

I am writing regarding the motion from Dundee Trades Union Council requesting that Dundee City Council passes a Motion to recognise the State of Palestine. The Dundee-Nablus Twinning Association committee reflected on this. Our Constitution requires us to focus on Friendship, Understanding and Commerce; we do not take a political position but we do support human rights and justice for everyone. Our decision was:

The committee acknowledged the request from Dundee Trades Union Council that Dundee City Council should recognise the State of Palestine. In support of our twinning relationship, we recognise and value the views and rights of the people of Nablus; these rights – in particular the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination - must be respected.

We appreciate the support we receive from Dundee City Council and we appreciate any support you can give to the people of Nablus in recognition of our forty years of twinning.



Our letter, dated March 2021, as set out above has been sent to:

  • Lord Provost Ian Borthwick
  • Councillor John Alexander, Leader of the Administration
  • Bailie Kevin Keenan, Leader of the Labour Group
  • Bailie Fraser Macpherson, Liberal Democrats

With a copy to Mike Arnott, Dundee Trades Union Council.

Take Action

If you live in Dundee you can write to your local Councillors expressing your own stance on this matter. You can find the names and contact details of your Councillors here.

The Policy and Resources Committee are expected to consider it at their meeting on 26th April 2021 so letters should reach Councillors in advance of that date.

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Friendship and Understanding

We promote friendship and understanding between the people of Nablus and the people of Dundee.

Young people from Dundee and Nablus
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Friends of Nablus and Surrounding Areas

A Scottish charity which supports Palestinians in and around Nablus.



We provide speakers for local community groups. Several topics and formats available.

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