Seattle City Council passes ‘watered down’ call for ceasefire in Middle East



(The Center Square) – The Seattle City Council on Tuesday passed an amended resolution supporting a long-term ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant proposed a resolution condemning the Israeli military assault on Gaza and urging an immediate ceasefire, humanitarian aid, an exchange of hostages, and an end to what is referred to as the occupation of Palestinian lands. Sawant’s proposed resolution also affirmed opposition to antisemitism and Islamophobia and urged Congress to end all military funding to the Jewish state.

However, an amendment to Sawant’s resolution removed the following: references to condemning the Israeli military, urging Congress to terminate all military funding to Israel, and ending the occupation of Palestinian lands. Left in the amended resolution: a long-term ceasefire between the two sides, as well as the return of all hostages, affirmation of the opposition to antisemitism and Islamophobia, and the delivery of humanitarian aid.

“All human life is precious, and the targeting of civilians, no matter their faith or ethnicity, is a violation of international humanitarian law,” the amendment to Resolution 32118 states.

The Seattle City Council approved of the amendment, which Sawant called “watered down.” Resolution 32118 was passed as amended by the council, with six in favor and three abstentions.

The Gaza Strip is larger in size to the city of Seattle, but is home to 2.3 million people, which is three times Seattle’s population. Between Oct. 7 and Nov. 21, more than 1,200 Israelis and more than 14,000 Palestinians – the resolution restates a claim that nearly half of whom are children – have been killed, including Americans, and tens of thousands more have been wounded.

Hundreds of people signed up for comment during the city council meeting at which the council was set to vote on the 2024 mid-biennial budget adjustments.

The majority of the public commenters called on the council to demand a ceasefire and free Palestine.

Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold said the passed amendment is not watered down and instead focuses more so on calling for a ceasefire.

“Concepts such as the origins of the conflict, ending all U.S. military funding, and longer-term political objectives like ending the occupation [of Palestine] distracts from the call for a ceasefire to the humanitarian crisis right now,” Herbold said to boos from the crowd.

Fellow City Councilmember Sara Nelson abstained from voting on the resolution and amendments, saying that “foreign policy is not my job.”

The council meeting started at 2 p.m. and ended at 7:01 p.m. after two hours of public comment and over an hour discussing the ceasefire resolution.

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