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Davis, California

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Davis City Council votes to call for immediate ceasefire to Israel-Gaza war

The council voted unanimously to pass a resolution calling for a ceasefire in meeting with large public attendance


By CHRIS PONCE — city@theaggie.org


Content warning: This article contains discussions of war, violence and genocide. 


On Tuesday, Dec. 12, at their regularly scheduled meeting, the Davis City Council voted to call for an immediate ceasefire to the war in Gaza. Item 4 on the council agenda contained Resolution 23, called the “Resolution calling for peace in Israel and Gaza,” which was passed unanimously.

The resolution contained five demands as part of the ceasefire. The city and city council called for: (1) an immediate ceasefire by all parties and to seek diplomacy, (2) an immediate end to terrorism and violence committed against civilians, (3) an unconditional release of all hostages, (4) the unrestricted restoration of food, water, electricity and medical supplies and (5) mutual respect for international law. 

After the resolution was adopted, it was sent to several governing agencies to urge them to use their authority to help “end the violence.” The city shared the document with the Yolo County Board of Supervisors, Rep. Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, Rep. Mike Thompson, State Sen. Bill Dodd, Sen. Laphonza Butler, Sen. Alex Padilla, Gov. Gavin Newsom, Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden.

“Nothing can be more emotionally charged than watching humanity, especially children, maimed and killed,” Councilmember Gloria Partida said before the public comment portion of the meeting. “[…] Although we can’t directly affect a lot of the policies that happen outside [our] purview. I believe — I think we all believe — that one of the most important roles of city leadership is to commiserate and to respond to the hurt and pain its community feels.”

The council chambers were at full capacity, holding 104 people. People seated in the chambers held yellow signs that read “Ceasefire Now.” Some people in attendance also wore shirts that read “Not in our name” and “Jews say ceasefire now.”

Because of the large amount of people in attendance, Arnold allocated a minute and a half per commenter. Arnold said that the majority of feedback the council received was about what was not included in the resolution rather than what was included. He said the language in the resolution used was criticized by people on both sides of the issue. 

The first public commenter, who did not share their name with the council, wore a Yamaka and called the war in Gaza an attempt at genocide by the state of Israel.

“This killing of Gazans can’t plausibly be seen as a reasonable military response or targeted operation to remove Hamas, but is instead an attempt at ethnic cleansing,” the commenter said. 

Jennifer, who did not share their last name, is a Jewish-American and a historian. They said governments can’t be complicit in the war in Gaza.

“When individuals, communities and governments turn a blind eye to human rights catastrophes like we’re seeing in Gaza now, it’s corrosive and literally soul-destroying,” Jennifer said.“

Jennifer also said they were disappointed in the U.S.’s opposition to the United Nations General Assembly resolution that called for a ceasefire. They explained the role the city of Davis has in calling for a ceasefire. 

“Some may ask why the city of Davis has any business engaging in global affairs,” Jennifer said during the public comment. “As residents of Davis, we are a part of the larger world. Our local community contains people from Palestine and Israel, those representing multiple faith groups, to whom the city of Davis owes it to show equal respect.”

Jennifer said that they have lost extended family members to genocide and that they cannot stand by a genocide made in their name. 

“Having lost extended family members to genocide some 80 years ago, I cannot sit by and see it done again in my name,” Jennifer said. “[Done] by Israel, a government that has dehumanized those whose lives and well-being it has unjustly held in its hands for more than 75 years. When we say never again, it means never again for anyone.

Rabbi Bess Wohlner, an affiliate of Congregation Bet Haverim in Davis, also attended the meeting. According to Wohlner, the congregation is the only synagogue in Yolo County. She said that her heart has shattered every day since the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel. 

“The God I believe in cries in the deaths of the innocent, no matter their religion or nationality, always, full stop,” Wohlner said. 

Maayan Gadisman, a Davis resident, said she has family in Israel and friends from the Palestinian territories. Gadisman said that all violence against innocent people needs to be condemned, but urged the council to vote no on a ceasefire. 

“Right now is not the time [for a ceasefire] while Hamas is still in power,” Gadisman said. “While Hamas is still saying they will repeat Oct. 7, a second, a third, a fourth time until Israel no longer stands. That is not the time to call for [a] ceasefire.” 

Another commenter, who did not share their name during the meeting, said she is Palestinian and that “love, not violence,” is the solution to the war. She urged the council to keep their minds and hearts open as they discussed the resolution.

“I am Palestinian and my husband is Jewish, we both have family in the region,” the commenter said. “Our children are born of a love that most call impossible. Love makes it possible to see all innocent humans as beautiful miracles that deserve to live freely and in peace.” 

Dillan Horton, a member of the Davis Police Accountability Commission and 2024 city council candidate, attended the meeting and called on the council to vote in favor of the resolution. 

“I hope this council calls for that direct ceasefire and I hope y’all stand up for our values,” Horton said. 

After the public comment, the council discussed the resolution. Councilmember Donna Neville said she believed the resolution the council adopts needs to clarify a call for a permanent ceasefire. After updating the amendments to the resolution, the council voted unanimously for the immediate ceasefire. Arnold said that the addition of the word “ceasefire” into the resolution had an impact on their statement. 

“I’m hearing both from our community, from our colleagues and the general assembly of the United Nations and others that this is an important step toward what could be a permanent peace,” Arnold said.


Written by: Chris Ponce — city@theaggie.org



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