The town ofÂ Tralee, inÂ CountyÂ Kerry, Ireland, became the first Irish town to formally twin with a Palestinian municipality, at a ceremony in Tralee, on Monday morning.
Representatives from Beit Sahour, in the Bethlehem district, including town mayor Jehad Khair and Palestine’s Ambassador toÂ Ireland, Ahmad Abdelrazak,Â attended the event where Mayor Khair and Mayor Graham Spring, of Tralee, signed the historic agreement.
Last summer, Kerry County Council, in the south-west of Ireland, passed an unopposed motion to twin the town ofÂ TraleeÂ with Beit Sahour.
Mayor Jehad Khair, of the municipality, welcomed the initiative and said he looks forward to developing strategic relationships to facilitate real and meaningful collaboration, in as many areas as possible, such as tourism, agriculture, local industry and investment.
Moreover, cultural exchanges will enable the people ofÂ TraleeÂ to experience life inÂ PalestineÂ under Israeli occupation, and to witness the ongoing oppression for themselves. It also allows them to demonstrate solidarity with the people ofÂ PalestineÂ and to develop a close partnership in support of the Palestinian right to self-determination.
However, PNN further reports, this is only the beginning. Kheir has called on other towns to develop links with Palestinian municipalities. Meanwhile, representatives from refugee camps have spoken of the huge impact, extending similar links to specific camps that would also benefit from the engagement.
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Chris Carlson is a student of religion at Mount Mercy University, United States, and has been a regular volunteer with the IMEMC since 2013. He assisted in providing extensive coverage of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip, and continues into the present day, with the issues at hand. He can be reached via email at c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.