Letter: City Council should pass Gaza cease-fire resolution

Graphic by Lori Deaton

At the Jan. 9 meeting of Asheville City Council, again mostly young, passionate people appealed to straight faces looking back at them who did not comment. Before public comments started, commenters were ordered not to yell. It traumatized some of them.

Do they wonder how traumatized the people in Gaza are every day, as well as Palestinians living in the West Bank? Death is their trauma.

We need to know what position City Council is taking on the plea for a cease-fire in Palestine. Do they care? Do they even listen? When they go home, do they think of what citizens actually said? Do they not have the guts to even say we agree or we don’t? Will taking a position, as Carrboro and many other major cities in the U.S. have, make them look emotional?

We need our elected leaders in this election year to speak up no matter what the consequences. Or is AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee) also lobbying them?

I am tired of passivity up there behind the city’s official desks. Children are being killed in Gaza every day. Many of our elected leaders are mothers. Think of your children being bombed, killed, critically injured or even traumatized. Then stand up against the slaughter going on in Palestine. We need to send a message to our national leaders through a city cease-fire resolution by the next meeting.

The longer the violence continues on either side, the more hundreds of innocents will die.

— Rachael Bliss


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34 thoughts on “Letter: City Council should pass Gaza cease-fire resolution

  1. NFB

    A resolution calling for a cease fire will have exactly zero influence in resulting in a cease fire, just as a resolution calling on Hamas to release the hostages it still holds (something the letter writer ignores here) will result in hostages being released, or in Hamas removing its call for the compete destruction of Israel from its charter.

    Hamas fully understood what the consequences the attacks it launched on Israel would be and carried these attacks, which included gang rape of women and the torture and murder of Kibuttz members and peace activists (many who transported Palestinians into Israel for medical care) anyway. Hamas happily offered up Palestinians in Gaza, including children, up for the slaughter while many of the planners watched and its consequences on TV in their luxury hotels in Qatar.

    Whether or not Israel’s response to this attacks was the wisest is certainly open for debate, but the letter writer’s unwillingness to even acknowledge the brutality of Hamas’ attacks, its posting of the rape, murder, and torture of civilians on “social” media, or any recognition of the hostages Hamas holds (including children) speaks volumes and suggests something more than just sympathy for Palestinians.

    • Oby Frank Arnold

      The difference between calling for ceasefire and calling for an end to the hostages is that the US is only responsible for one of those things. Biden can potentially be influenced in the decision to provide weapons to Israel without condition.

    • Lindsay Hartman

      Not only was the attack by Isreal unwise, it was also illegal. Isreal is being investigated in the international court of justice for genocide. Other countries have followed suit in support.

      Collective punishment of civilians, which is basically your argument, is immoral and also illegal. Isreal has imposed a blockade on the entirety of Gaza which is putting 1 million children into starvation. But when they want, they can be targeted in their killings, hence the assassination of a too hamas leader in Beirut in a precise attack. The widespread carpet bombing in Gaza js done with the intent of genocide of an entire population, grimly citing the Amalek doctrine.
      Its a horror show. There is no logical basis for killing civilians… None.

      • gapple

        International court investigating Isreal for retaliating against the Hamas/Gaza supported brutal attack on peace loving jews and others attending a music festival?

  2. Enlightened Enigma

    This is no business of the City of Asheville, besides the Mayor is Jewish so it would be a slap in her face along with all other Jews in Asheville.

    • Lindsay Hartman

      Why? Does Judaism encourage genocide? I don’t think so.

      Judaism should never be the shield to hide behind to not speak up about objectively horrific war crimes.

      • vida king

        As a Jew myself, it is NOT a slap in the face when I see people condemn Israel’s genocide. Is is VERY MUCH a slap in the face, extremely anti-semitic, and scary, when people equate Israel’s actions with Judaism. Israel’s actions are deplorable, indefensible, illegal under international law, and completely counter to Jewish values.

  3. SpareChange

    The writer seems extraordinarily selective in choosing which war should be of concern to the city council of Asheville, NC. As Global Citizen points out, there are at least 32 active conflicts in the world at the present time. Should the city pass separate, meaningless resolutions on each? If not, what should be the litmus test for deciding which people’s lives are worthy of such empty gestures?

    Just looking at the Middle East alone — where is Bliss’ outrage regarding the more than 377,000 who have died in Yemen in the surrogate Iran – Saudi war there? Or the more than 600,000 who have died in the Syrian civil war? Or the more than 40,000 Kurds killed by Turkey? The vast majority of dead in all these conflicts have been civilians. Or, is it only when there is direct Israeli involvement in a war that the writer’s moral outrage is engaged?

  4. WNC

    According to Reuters 52% of Gaza and 85 % of West Bank support Hamas war actions. “Quote” families in Gaza have held Israel citizens captive in some circumstances.
    Hamas has controlled Gaza for last 16-17 years has used resources for war. The world can’t feed those who are in Gaza because Hamas steals everything as would be expected of terrorist.
    Ceasefire when Hamas is eliminated . You can’t negotiate with terrorist who have bases of attack in schools, hospitals and day cares.

    • RG

      Sure wish our own government would have defended against those terrorists of January 6, 2021. Then I might believe…

  5. Anne Craig

    The powers that be in our world are relying too much on militarism and war, thinking that this will achieve some semblance of safety. This is so counterproductive. Many thought leaders have warned us against the rise of a war based economy which the U.S. now is and promotes around the world. The people of Israel, the people of Palestine will never be safe unless we help them to move away from militarism. CEASEFIRE NOW!

  6. Tom Craig

    I agree with Rachel Bliss. For too long the Israeli government has conducted it s hasbara campaign (intensely clever propaganda campaign) to hide the fact that the Palestinians have been for the most part the victims of ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and general oppression for the entire time of the existence of the state of Israel. It is way beyond time that Israel be held accountable for its numerous international crimes relating to its settlement construction, house demolition and interference in Palestinian life. Who else would be allowed to wage a campaign such as they are conducting in Gaza? And shame on our country for going long with this murderous destruction!!

    • gapple

      WHy is it that no Arab/Muslim country would give safe passage or haven to the Palestinians in Gaza? Nobody wants them. Not even the UN, who sat idly by while Hamas built their war machine; heck, the UN probably aided them.

  7. Ken Jones

    Nothing justifies Israel’s genocide in Gaza. Every day we witness a massacre of hundreds of civilians, and now there is incredible starvation and disease because of the blockade on food, water, electricity, fuel, & medicine. 30,000 dead, including over 10,000 children, over 60,000 injured, thousands more buried in the rubble. The whole of Gaza made uninhabitable. This is an ethnic cleansing of over 2 million people that must be stopped. Ceasefire is the minimum that should be called for. There should also be an end to the illegal and immoral siege, occupation, and apartheid – in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem. Equal human rights for Palestinians. Why is that so hard to understand?

    • NFB

      Israel’s actions can be called many egregious things, but “genocide” is not one of them.

      The number of Palestinians living in both Palestine and Israel proper has INCREASED since the founding of the modern state of Israel and the UN projected in 2016 that the population in Gaza will double by 2050. Calling this genocide trivializes actual genocide.

      Palestinians who live in Israel proper are Israeli citizens, can vote in Israeli elections, and serve in the Knesset. When did blacks ever have that right in aparthied South Africa? When was the last time Hamas even have an election in Gaza?

      There is also a reason LGBTQ Palestinians try to get out of Gaza and into Israel, and it isn’t because they want to be victims of genocide in Israel.

      A cease fire? Great! Then what? What then happens when Hamas, whose charter calls for the destruction of the state of Israel commits more war crimes with kidnappings, gang rapes, tortures, etc. Hamas is who inflicted this hell on its own citizens. They new how Israel would react and happily offered up their people for the slaughter.

      A two state solution is the only possible path towards peace, and this is not possible as long as Hamas is in power. Likewise is is not possible as long as Netyanyahu is in power.

      Pro-Israel, anti-Netanyah.
      Pro-Palestian, anti-Hamas.

  8. Lindsay Hartman

    Isreal is committing genocide. This has clearly been articulated by South Africa in the International Court of Justice.

    People need to decide if religious ideologies or facts are their criterion for assessing this situation. And hiding behind the shield of a religion is morally unacceptable because no religion teaches the wholesale killing of children like this.

    Isreal has destroyed the entire medical infrastructure, civilian infrastructure, schools, places of worship and attacked water treatment facilities. Isreal is also imposing an economic blockade which is putting one million children at risk of starvation. Does anyone really think religion teaches this? This is the conduct of an imperialist government that views Palestinians as human animals.

  9. Truth

    Whoever thinks it’s okay to starve and bomb 2.3 million people should check their humanity.

  10. James

    These are all very wonderful, well thought out comments with lots of…um, numbers and such. I appreciate everybody’s passion.
    But returning to the letter writer’s immediate premise, I have to ask:

    WTF business is it of Asheville ‘s to pass a resolution on ANYTHING international? What’s the expected outcome of a village condemnation of a global military conflict? It’s better they focus on baseball field s.

    • Anne Craig

      James – yes, our city government’s priorities should be on our city’s local issues and concerns. However, sometimes there are events in our greater world which call for local leaders to take a moral stance. Years ago our city endorsed a resolution calling for support of an end to nuclear weapons. Someone said, ‘all politics is local’. I think that applies in the case of supporting a ceasefire resolution. The amount of weapons the U.S. is giving Israel, assisting in the ongoing humanitarian disaster in Gaza not only makes our world more dangerous and potentially unliveable but diverts funding for human and social needs here. It’s an expression of the moral sentiments of our city.
      This is an introduction to a proposed resolution:
      Whereas, representing constituents to higher levels of government is part of that oath.

      Whereas, cities, towns, and counties routinely and properly send petitions to Congress for all kinds of requests, allowed under Clause 3, Rule XII, Section 819, of the Rules of the House of Representatives.

      Whereas, in 1967 a court in California ruled (Farley v. Healey , 67 Cal.2d 325) in favor of citizens’ right to place a referendum on the ballot opposing the Vietnam War, ruling: “As representatives of local communities, board of supervisors and city councils have traditionally made declarations of policy on matters of concern to the community whether or not they had power to effectuate such declarations by binding legislation Indeed, one of the purposes of local government is to represent its citizens before the Congress, the Legislature, and administrative agencies in matters over which the local government has no power. Even in matters of foreign policy it is not uncommon for local legislative bodies to make their positions known.”

      • indy499

        Nonsense. I wish Woodfin would pass a resolution condeming crime in Asheville

    • Ken Jones

      You might wonder why 4 big working class unions have called for a ceasefire – the UAW, nurses, electricians, postal workers. It’s because they understand that the same powers oppressing Palestinians also oppress other working class people around the world. The US ruling class that supports an ungodly war machine and wreaks imperial wars the world over, the same people supporting Israel in its war crimes, are also exploiting us here in the US. And using our money to do it. The money that goes to support Israel’s genocide should be going to make our lives more manageable rather than the lives of Palestinians more desperate and grief-stricken. Why shouldn’t our elected local officials call for a ceasefire in Gaza? For that matter, why shouldn’t each and every one of us be doing the same?

      • indy499

        Why shouldn’t the council get involved in this. Because that’s not why their position exists. How about you and your tiny band go wave some signs aand let the council perhaps try to engage in the problems of the citizenry.

  11. indy499

    The city council should cease all proclamations and resolutions that have zip to do with Asheville. How about addressing crime? None of the council lives downtown and doesn’t care about it (why’d you close the police station in your highest crime area) but at least pretend to care about the job you sought and were elected to do.

    • Rachael Roberts Bliss

      I live downtown and I’m not fearful of crime. I feel safer here at night than somewhere in residential dark area where no one would ever hear me scream for help if attacked. We taxpayers and compassionate humans in Asheville are in solidarity with those whose taxes go to the biggest military spending in the war, and whose spending on weapons is ending lives overseas and militarizing our own police here. Such resolutions remind our elected leaders at the national level that they need to represent Asheville constituents.

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