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Boston City Council votes for ‘immediate and permanent ceasefire in Israel and Palestine’

The council’s decision “threw fuel on the fire and offered no solace to Palestinians or Israelis,” stated Rob Leikind, director of AJC New England.

Boston City Hall. Credit: Wangkun Jia/Shutterstock.
Boston City Hall. Credit: Wangkun Jia/Shutterstock.

The Boston City Council voted 11-2 on Wednesday to call for an “immediate and permanent ceasefire in Israel and Palestine.”

In the ceasefire resolution, the council also demanded “an end to the bombing of Gaza, the freeing of all hostages from Hamas and the freeing of all administrative detainees held by Israel, lifting all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance at scale to meet the full needs of the population of Gaza, in line with international law” and “the resumption of U.S. funding of UNRWA.”

It also demanded “the rebuilding of the schools, homes, mosques, churches and other structures destroyed in this conflict, enforcement of U.S. and international laws requiring recipients of U.S. military assistance comply with human rights standards and international humanitarian law and the beginning of a process of repair and reconciliation for all impacted by the violence in the region including the advancement safety and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians.”

Rob Leikind, director of AJC New England, said that the council embraced “a one-sided narrative that did not neatly portray the obstacles to a ceasefire, and which itself poses an obstacle to a reduction of conflict.”

“The resolution glaringly failed to mention Hamas’s Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel; Hamas’s promise to continue to attack Israel and murder its people; or its use of Gazans as human shields,” Leikind stated. “Strikingly, it also made no mention of the fact that there is an actual ceasefire proposal on the table, which Secretary of State Antony Blinken called ‘extraordinarily generous on the part of Israel.’”

“We would have hoped that the Boston City Council would have used this opportunity to advance understanding and soothe a polarized climate,” he added. “Instead, it threw fuel on the fire and offered no solace to Palestinians or Israelis.”

The Massachusetts Republican Party stated that “there can’t be a ceasefire without the release of the hostages and the termination of the terrorist organization, Hamas. The Boston City Council should have never passed this resolution. This only adds to the antisemitic misinformation plaguing the Commonwealth.”

The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston said before the council’s vote that the resolution would “be a troubling outcome to the months of debates and negotiations around the Boston City Council regarding how to responsibly support a ceasefire in Gaza.”

The resolution “is not balanced,” the JCRC added. “It fails to name the culpability of, let alone condemn Hamas for the barbaric Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israeli civilians; the taking of innocent civilian hostages by Hamas and its terrorist allies; the sexual violence perpetrated on that day and against the hostages;  the use of innocent Palestinian civilians as human shields; and the continuing unwillingness of Hamas to accept ceasefire proposals advanced by the U.S., Egypt, Qatar and others.”

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), a member of the so-called progressive “Squad,” applauded the vote.

“From Boston to Gaza, our destinies are tied and our pro-peace, pro-humanity movement continues to grow,” she said.

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