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The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Boston City Council calls for ‘immediate and permanent’ ceasefire in Gaza

Boston+City+Hall.+%28Ashlyn+Wang%2FBeacon+Staff%29
Ashlyn Wang
Boston City Hall. (Ashlyn Wang/Beacon Staff)

The Boston City Council passed a resolution 11-2 in support of calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza at its meeting on Wednesday.

Councilors Ruthzee Louijeune, Julia Mejia, Henry Santana, Gabriela Coletta, John FitzGerald, Brian Worrell, Enrique Pepén, Benjamin Weber, Tania Fernandes Anderson, Sharon Durkan, and Liz Breadon voted in favor of the resolution, whereas Ed Flynn and Erin Murphy voted against.

Fernandes Anderson proposed the resolution declaring all life precious and urging all elected leaders and residents to “stand united against violence and advocate for the safety, dignity, freedom, and collective humanity of all people.”

The resolution proposed that the Boston City Council “calls for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Israel and Palestine.”

The resolution also called for an end to the bombing in Gaza, the freeing of all hostages and administrative detainees in Israel and Gaza, listing all barriers to humanitarian assistance, and the rebuilding of schools, homes, mosques, and churches destroyed in the conflict. Further, the resolution called for the resumption of funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, and that all recipients of U.S. military assistance comply with laws relating to human rights and international standards.

(DJ Mara/Beacon Staff; Resolution courtesy Boston City Council)

Ultimately, the resolution concludes that these actions would help begin “a process of repair and reconciliation for all impacted by the violence in the region.”

Fernandes Anderson noted that a ceasefire has been brought to the council floor in the past, but now is the time to vote on it.

“By working with advocates, community members, and interfaith organizations, we have worked to find the ways in which the Boston City Council can be most impactful,” said Fernandes Anderson. “As a body, we have got to stand up and say that enough is enough. We should move forward as a body with a shared belief … that this violence has to end.”

Flynn, whose district includes Emerson, was one of the two councilors to vote against the ceasefire resolution. Flynn said that the best place to debate a resolution is in a committee hearing, but also believed that “the city council is not the right body to address this [issue].”

Murphy, the other councilor to vote against the resolution, noted that many Jewish constituents were surprised at this resolution being brought forward the morning after Passover ended.

“I want to uplift that Passover just ended yesterday,” said Murphy. “I’m hearing from many Jewish residents, friends, and family that they were offline, and this morning they are just hearing about this resolution coming forward.”

Weber, a practicing Jew who celebrated Passover this past week, shared a prayer that a friend read at their Passover Seder.

“We pray for a cessation of the violence … for our ability to hold in our hearts at the same time, the suffering and pain of Palestinians and Israelis … for the future of both peoples on this land, the acknowledgment of both people’s right to live in justice and dignity,” said Weber. “We pray that in all our trauma, sorrow, or despair, that we don’t harden our hearts or refuse to see what is happening before our eyes.”

Weber ended the prayer with, “We pray, we preserve our humanity. We pray that in the heart of this moment, there will be an awakening and a realization that the only path forward is one of coexistence.”

Durkan, who voted in support of the resolution, stated that many Jewish constituents of hers have experienced antisemitism and other forms of harassment.

“[I am] standing up for my Jewish constituents who have faced harassment with everything going on in the world,” said Durkan. “I just want to acknowledge their pain.”

Breadon, an immigrant from Northern Ireland, recounted her experiences during “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland.

“When The Troubles started in 1969, I was 10 years old, and I was here in Boston in 1998 when 30-something years of trauma and violence [ended],” said Breadon. “It is my hope and prayer that the ceasefire would be the beginning of a process of repair and reconciliation for all impacted by the violence of this region, including the advancement of the safety and dignity of all Israelis and Palestinians.”

Coletta echoed many of the points made by Durkan surrounding antisemitism.

“We [can] acknowledge Jewish individuals’ pain while also calling for an end of suffering for the Palestinian people,” said Coletta. “We should be standing up against any pain and suffering.”

Mejia recognized the human aspect of calling for a ceasefire and that this was a moment to move beyond politics and typical business.

“This is one of those moments where we have to move beyond ourselves and recognize the bigger picture here,” said Mejia. “We can all agree that it is time for us to say enough is enough.”

Before an official vote was taken on the ceasefire resolution, Louijeune echoed the words of her colleagues that “violence only begets more violence.”

“There is no way that this short eight by eleven resolution on one page is reflective of the diversity of opinions of a 13-member body,” said Louijeune. “But it is to say that we collectively as a body want this to end.”

May 1 Docket 0770 Vote (DJ Mara/Beacon Staff)

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DJ Mara
DJ Mara, Kasteel Well Bureau Co-Editor

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