A SENIOR councillor has controversially called for an upmarket street which houses the US Consulate in Scotland to be renamed “The State of Palestine Terrace”.
Deputy transport leader Councillor Adam McVey proposed the rebranding of Regent Terrace in a discussion to debate how best to show solidarity with civilians in Gaza amid fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants The move would help communicate the depth of feeling across Edinburgh at US opposition to recognising Palestine as a sovereign state, he said.
However, the proposal was later scrapped with city leader Andrew Burns instead lodging a motion – due to be debated at Thursday’s full council meeting – which calls for the Disasters Emergency Committee banner to be flown from City Chambers.
The war between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza strip has left 2000 Palestinians – many of them civilians – and 64 Israeli soldiers and three civilians dead. A ceasefire was due to expire last night with no firm indications Egyptian mediators in Cairo have secured a deal to end the five-week conflict.
Cllr McVey said: “I suggested renaming a street along the lines of the action that was taken in Glasgow during apartheid in South Africa with the renaming of Nelson Mandela Place.
“The purpose was to try to get the US Consulate to pass on the feeling in Edinburgh that it should withdraw its opposition to Palestine being a fully-fledged member of the United Nations.”
Established in 1798, The Consulate is one of America’s oldest diplomatic outposts.
Leaders at the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign have welcomed Cllr McVey’s proposal as “appropriate on many levels”.
Secretary Mick Napier said: “The move by Glasgow City Council generated lots of opposition at the time but worked. It discomfited the apartheid regime to have their embassy on Nelson Mandela Place and it would be appropriate for Regent Terrace to be renamed Palestine Terrace.”
But Scotland’s Israel Information Office has blasted the Regent Street proposal “vapid gesture politics”.
Director Dr Ezra Golombok said: “In the first place, there is no state of Palestine, unlike the comparison with Glasgow’s naming of Mandela Place, when Nelson Mandela was a living presence.
“Secondly, the choice is of an historic Edinburgh site, built over 180 years ago – one wonders if a snub is intended to the US Consulate.”
Consulate staff declined to comment.