After hearing hundreds of spirited comments from Detroit residents, the Detroit City Council voted 7-2 Tuesday in favor of a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza – becoming the most major American city to do so.
Public comments were overwhelmingly in favor of the resolution, calling it the “bare minimum” given the ongoing ethnic cleansing in Gaza. The US-backed Israeli army has killed more than 11,000 Palestinians, including more than 4,000 children, since the October 7 Hamas attack.
Detroit joins other U.S. cities like Atlanta, Georgia; Akron, Ohio; Wilmington, Delaware; Providence, Rhode Island; and Richmond, California, passing a ceasefire resolution.
In Michigan, similar resolutions were passed in Hamtramck, Ypsilanti, Dearborn Heights and Dearborn – home to the highest percentage of Arab-Americans in the United States.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Detroit residents criticized council members, asking how many Palestinian children had to die before the council took a stand. Several threatened to impeach council members if they did not adopt the ceasefire resolution.
“The Detroit City Council calls for an immediate, lasting and sustained ceasefire to protect and save lives, which allows for the unhindered provision of humanitarian assistance and the unhindered provision of life-sustaining goods to civilians throughout Gaza. as required by international humanitarian law. “, we read in the resolution.
It continues: “As part of the ceasefire, the Detroit City Council also calls for the unconditional release of all civilians illegally held hostage, demanding their safety, well-being and humane treatment, in accordance with the law international. »
The resolution, introduced by Councilwoman Gabriela Santiago-Romero, was initially opposed by Council Members Pro Tate James Tate and Coleman A. Young II, who asked for “more neutral language.”
Tate and Young were the only members to vote against the resolution, objecting to the use of the word “ceasefire” and instead calling for a “two-state solution.”
“I believe the State of Israel has the right to defend itself after the horrific acts that killed hundreds of civilians on October 7 while kidnapping hundreds of innocent civilians,” Tate said. “I want to see an Israel that is no longer under threat of attack. I also want to see Palestinians able to live freely in their homeland with the opportunity to flourish, both at home and abroad. I don’t want to see any more air attacks killing innocent children and other vulnerable civilians in Gaza. I want all the hostages to be released unharmed.
Santiago-Romero said: “If this is the case or if we as a body are to pass this resolution, and if we are accused of choosing a side, surely we are taking the side of humanity. »
Councilor Mary Waters also spoke in favor of passing the resolution.
“We must call for a ceasefire, appeal directly to President Biden to end the massacres in Gaza using our taxpayers’ money, killing our babies,” she urged. “Hamas and Israel must immediately end the massacres. Hamas must safely return all hostages. Israel must allow all humanitarian aid into Gaza. Taking half steps is on the wrong side of history. And that’s not an option for those who respect the history and majority of Detroit.”
U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Detroit also introduced a ceasefire resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives. Although it did not obtain the necessary votes to be adopted, the project has gained ground in recent days, with the support of around forty members of Congress.
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