Seattle City Council passes amended resolution calling for long-term ceasefire in Israel and Palestine

The Seattle City Council approved an amended resolution tonight calling for a long-term ceasefire in Gaza, an immediate return of all hostages, and restoration of humanitarian aid. It also condemns rising antisemitism, Islamophobia, and anti-Palestinian/Arab bigotry.

Council President Debora Juarez and Councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Teresa Mosqueda put this common ground amendment forward. It is in line with the demands being made by a large interfaith coalition and other community members who signed the Washington Solidarity Statement.

The amendment underscores the Council’s support for the people of both Israel and Palestine to live in peace and security, and the right of all people to live, learn, work, play, pray, and engage in peaceful protest, without the threats of intimidation or death. The amendment condemns violations of international law, including both the attack on October 7, 2023 by Hamas and the Israeli military’s response on the 2.3 million Palestinian people living in Gaza (nearly half of whom are children) since then.

Council President Juarez’s statement from the dais can be found in this video from tonight’s meeting (at 4:46:20). Statements from Councilmembers Mosqueda and Herbold can be found below:

Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda

We have all received a letter of support for this amendment signed by 68 individuals signing the letter, and 150+ organizations that have endorsed the Solidarity Statement that aligns with this Amendment. The letter reads – “We join Palestinian and Jewish leaders in supporting the resolution via amendment by Juarez/Herbold/Mosqueda as a way to pass something that focuses on the immediate urgent needs related to stopping the violence and bloodshed, including the killing of children and civilians. The amended resolution also uses the language of the Ceasefire Now Resolution led by Congresswomen Cori Bush and Rashida Tlaib, which is the bill before our Members of Congress. Thank you to Council President Juarez and Councilmember Herbold for working to find that common ground to advance this amendment today.

A ceasefire is essential now to stop more deaths, as well as the safe return and exchange of all hostages. Over a month ago on Oct 7th, over 1,200 innocent Israelis were killed; since then, over 12,000 Palestinians have been killed— nearly half of those children. This morning the Associated Press headline read: Gaza health officials say they lost the ability to count dead as Israeli offensive intensifies. We know One child is killed every 15 minutes in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, according to a recent report by Save the Children.  No where in the world should it be tolerated to see innocent people targeted – in refugee camps or in hospitals. No where in the world should collective punishment, through bombing and the elimination of water, food, fuel should that be tolerated. No where – it would not be tolerated on Israel AND it should not be tolerated on Palestine.

This amendment is brought forward with the goal to add to the voices that are trying to end the bloodshed and save lives. Each day nearly 500 more people are killed. This is not the time posturing or for grandstanding, when finding common ground and uniting around the urgent call for a ceasefire now and release of all hostages should be our uniting goal. I pleaded to continue to work with those who seek to advance this critical effort in earnest, and that is what today’s Amendment tries to offer. 

Last month, I called for an immediate ceasefire. I added my name to the growing community of interfaith leaders, healthcare providers, international humanitarian organizations, community members and elected officials calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Israel-Palestine. If we can pass a Ceasefire resolution today we would not be alone – we would join other jurisdictions Detroit, MI; Atlanta, GA; Richmond, CA; Providence, RI; Carrboro, NC; Wilmington, DE; Akron, OH; Cudahy, CA; Easton, PA; Dearborn, MI; Dearborn Heights, MI; Ypsilanti, MI; and Hamtramck, MI. We would join 27 members of Congress – which includes the Jewish member of Congress Becca Balint from Vermont calls for Ceasefire along with our own US Rep. Jayapal. We would join internationally prime ministers and presidents, along with WHO and international humanitarian organizations are also calling for a ceasefire. 

With this amendment today we have the chance to pass a resolution – one that calls for an immediate and long-term ceasefire, the release of all hostages, and the allowance adequate humanitarian aid to the people in Gaza. We can do that with this amendment – that seeks to find common ground on the immediate asks to stop the escalating deaths. 

This month The Seattle Times headline said Seattle-area Palestinians watching in horror and fear as the Gaza siege continues, and we are seeing the impacts of this violence radiate as anti-Semitic and anti-Arab/anti-Muslim hate, bigotry, threats and attacks rise in Seattle, with synagogues being targeted, individuals being harassed, and fear and hate on the rise. We must not turn against each other and incite further divisiveness, hate, or violence. Individuals are not their government. This amendment condemns antisemitism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, and anti-Arab/anti-Palestinian bigotry and violence that has resulted from the escalation of violence and unequivocally condemns these acts of hate locally and globally. This amendment serves our community.

The letter of support concludes “We firmly believe that the calls set forth in the resolution by Juarez/Herbold/Mosqueda help bring better safety and well-being for all peoples living in the region, Palestinians and Israelis alike. A ceasefire and the restoration of basic necessities along with humanitarian aid would enable the development of political solutions, including for the release and safe return of all hostages, rather than perpetuate violence through a military option. In addition, given the rise in antisemitism, Islamophobia, and anti-Palestinian/anti-Arab bigotry, the language in the resolution helps make clear that the City of Seattle will not condone such hatred or divisiveness, regardless of where it occurs.”  

Thank you to the community writing in with support and urging us to find a path that seeks common ground and advance this call.” 

Councilmember Lisa Herbold

There’s a resolution before the US House of Representatives introduced by Reps. Bush, Tlaib, Carson, Lee, Ramirez, Bowman, Coleman, Garcia, Jackson, Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley, and Velazquez,

It is a good model, I believe for such a resolution.  It is short but it is powerful:

Whereas all human life is precious, and the targeting of civilians, no matter their faith or ethnicity, is a violation of international humanitarian law; 

Whereas, between October 7 and October 16, 2023, armed violence has claimed the lives of over 2,700 Palestinians and over 1,400 Israelis, including Americans, and wounded thousands more;

Whereas hundreds of thousands of lives are at imminent risk if a cease-fire is not achieved and humanitarian aid is not delivered without delay; and

Whereas the Federal Government holds immense diplomatic power to save Israeli and Palestinian lives: 

Be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives urges the Biden administration to immediately call for and facilitate de-escalation and a cease-fire to urgently end the current violence; and calls upon the Biden administration to promptly send and facilitate the entry of humanitarian assistance into Gaza.

Similarly, I believe that our resolution should simply state support for a ceasefire and humanitarian aid, return of the hostages, as well unequivocally condemning any anti-Semitism or anti-Islamic actions in this country.

I believe that if you want to effectively call for a ceasefire you must have a laser focus on the call for the immediate end of bloodshed.  Concepts such as the origins of the conflict, ending all US military funding, and other information that may in dispute or longer-term political objectives like ending the occupation distracts from the call for a ceasefire creating the humanitarian crisis.   

This is not a watered-down resolution. It is focused. It is focused on improving immediate conditions for Gaza’s 2.3 million people, 1.7 million of which have been displaced since the 7 October Hamas attack in Israel resulted in the killing of 1,200 Israelis and capture of 240 hostages. Since then, more than 11,000 people have been killed in besieged Gaza. 

The strongest statement for peace is a statement that has more Councilmembers voting with a unified voice. For those of you insisting on the inclusion of this content beyond these for elements of priority, why do you insist on including language that would result in a weaker statement with less support?

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