Following a Labour2Palestine visit with the Mayor of Derby, Hebron and Derby have signed a memorandum of understanding to become sister cities.
News of the agreement has been covered by national (the Independent) and local news coverage in the UK, Hebron and Derby.
The Mayor of Derby, Councillor Fareed Hussain, has been instrumental in bringing the agreement about. He is particularly keen to develop educational links between the two cities.
This could mean ties between schools and universities in Derby and Hebron such students from primary schools speaking to one another over the internet.
Labour2Palestine organisers, Dan and Elizabeth, with the two Mayors of the cities
The Mayor said: “I am delighted and proud to have set up the sister city relationship with Hebron because it will improve the quality of life of residents in both cities, particularly the education of children and young people. I was inspired by my visit to Hebron last year and this relationship will build on the council’s commitment to develop community cohesion locally and internationally. This will propose “a cultural, political and economic exchange based on the shared values of tolerance and respect”.
The Derby Council report for Councillors says “the Sister City relationship will foster greater cultural understanding between the citizens of Derby and Hebron. The relationship will promote shared experiences based on culture, sport, social development and tourism”.
The Labour2Palestine group navigate the checkpoints, which is easier for tourists than for Palestinians from the town.
Hebron is a similar size to the population of Derby: a population of about 250,000 residents.
Hebron suffers particular difficulties due to the impact of religious, political settlers in the town centre, who harass the local Palestinian population. The high number of Israeli soldiers and closure of the previous hub of the city to Palestinians, blocking Palestinians from their former homes and businesses cause particular problems.
Labour2Palestine visit Palestine to witness the particular issues that Palestinians in Hebron face.