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Controversy Arises As Boulder Considers Nablus In West Bank As Sister City

Nablus Map
(credit: CBS)

BOULDER (CBS4) - The city of Boulder is considering taking on a sister city, and these types of matters rarely get a lot of attention, but this story is making national news.

Boulder is considering a relationship with the town of Nablus in the West Bank. The city council could formally approve the relationship Monday evening.

The city has received more than 400 emails about evenly split between those for and against the relationship.

Supporters like Stan Deetz insist the motivation is cultural exchange. He says Nablus is not like the rest of the Arab world and has a lot in common with Boulder. They both are mountainous, cosmopolitan and home to universities.

Opponents say the human rights record in the West Bank should be an automatic disqualifier. They say the group pushing the relationship has a political agenda and wants the city to take sides in the Middle East conflict.

"This is going to be limited to those who subscribe to the particular philosophy, which is to damage Israel," said Bill Cohen, who is against the West Bank sister city. "We don't think that works for free exchanges, which are the hallmark of sister cities."

"We believe that people to people diplomacy works. That's when people get to know each other and children grow up differently, violence happens less," Deetz said.

The city council called a meeting to take up the designation. An overflow crowd was expected and police were going to be on hand.

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