Row erupts over Melton Council's refusal to fly the Israel flag

Leicestershire County Council's Glenfield HQ (left) lit up this week in the colours of the Israel flag and Melton Borough Council's Parkside offices, which will not be flying a flag for the nationLeicestershire County Council's Glenfield HQ (left) lit up this week in the colours of the Israel flag and Melton Borough Council's Parkside offices, which will not be flying a flag for the nation
Leicestershire County Council's Glenfield HQ (left) lit up this week in the colours of the Israel flag and Melton Borough Council's Parkside offices, which will not be flying a flag for the nation
A row has erupted over Melton Borough Council declining a request to fly the flag of Israel from its Parkside offices to show support for its people following the recent mass killings of its civilians.

Around 1,300 people were killed in Israel – including many children – when members of Hamas crossed the border in a co-ordinated violent attack.

Israeli forces hit back with hundreds of air strikes which led to the deaths of more than 1,500 Palestinians in neighbouring Gaza.

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The Conservative group of councillors on Melton Borough Council, who lost control of the authority following May’s local elections, asked the council’s new leadership group –consisting of a coalition of Labour and Independents – to fly the Israel flag in solidarity with Israeli people.

Leicestershire County Council's Glenfield HQ lit up in the colours of the Israel flag to show support for the victims of the Hamas attacks.Leicestershire County Council's Glenfield HQ lit up in the colours of the Israel flag to show support for the victims of the Hamas attacks.
Leicestershire County Council's Glenfield HQ lit up in the colours of the Israel flag to show support for the victims of the Hamas attacks.

They point out that both Leicestershire County Council and Harborough District Council have both flown the Israel flag this week and confirmed their support for its people.

Melton & Syston Conservatives posted on their Facebook page: “(We) condemn completely the actions of Hamas in its attack on the people of Israel.

"It is disappointing that the Labour leader of Melton Borough Council refused a request by the Melton Borough Council Conservative Group to fly the Israeli flag to show solidarity with the Israeli people at this time (as other Councils in Leicestershire, including both Conservative and Liberal Democrat run authorities, are doing).”

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But Melton Council, which has been flying the flag of Ukraine and has lit up its offices in the colours of its flag to show its support for that nation since Russia’s full scale invasion which started last year, has decided not to follow suit following the recent violence in the Middle East.

Confirming the authority’s decision not to fly the Israel flag, a spokesperson for Melton Borough Council told the Melton Times: “The council condemns all acts of violence against innocent people and its thoughts and prayers are with those families and communities affected by recent events.”

Leicestershire County Council Tweeted on Tuesday: “We’re lighting up County Hall in white and blue to show solidarity with Israel.”

And, on Monday, Harborough District Council posted on social media: “Lights on our council building and on The Square in Market Harborough will be lit tonight to show our solidarity with the people of Israel in the face of terrorism.”

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Rutland and Melton MP, Alicia Kearns, writing in her latest column for the Melton Times this week, also expressed sympathy for the plight of Israelis and Palestinians after the violence of the last week:

She wrote: “The last few days have brought scenes of horror for which there are few words, and none that would take away the pain of those who have had loved ones stolen from them, and the Jewish community who are hurting in our communities and globally.

"The atrocities have haunted me, and I have written to the Ambassador of Israel on behalf of our communities to express our solidarity with the people of Israel.

"Hamas is a terrorist organisation.

"Its actions are those of a terrorist organisation, acting in the interests of Iran, not the people of Palestine for whom they have only caused more suffering.”

She added: "We must all hope for the violence to end, and for progress on a two-state solution to come forward.”