Letter: Silence on Gaza request bodes ill for democracy

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Our City Council members have a lot on their plates. They are people with busy lives and spend a great deal of time setting directions for the city and grappling with the challenges facing our community. That is no small task. With appreciation for the magnitude of their positions, I submit the following.

Via email, I submitted a  resolution calling for an immediate and durable cease-fire in Gaza, with a list of local supporters/endorsers. I was asking Council to consider putting it on a meeting agenda to discuss and vote on. I received a response from only one Council member. So, I resubmitted it. Again I heard back from only one Council member, who told me it could not be introduced on the agenda due to lack of sufficient support.

Thus, I decided to present it a third time in person during the public comment period of the Feb. 13 City Council meeting. Also in attendance were younger city residents, many of whom have been directly affected by the current conflict. The reading of the resolution was followed by individual supporters speaking to a different aspect of the situation and how it connects to local history, events and decisions made here at home. The resolution had the support of over 1,500 people at that time, and as of this writing, it has over 1,800 supporters on a change.org petition.

I waited for a few days after the meeting to see if any response might be forthcoming. I gleaned that the silence of the individual Council members is tantamount to a rejection.

Of course, I am disappointed that our Council will not support the cease-fire resolution. The horrific events in Gaza are affecting many local residents of various ethnicities and religious affiliations. But, apart from their silence, I am concerned about how the majority of the members of the present Council did not even take a moment to acknowledge receipt of my communication.

Hours upon hours of work were put into researching, crafting, gaining supporters and presenting that resolution. For our city leaders to remain unresponsive when asked for a third time to consider the resolution does not bode well for democratic governance or for public participation in it.

— Anne Craig


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27 thoughts on “Letter: Silence on Gaza request bodes ill for democracy

  1. North Asheville

    Foreign policy issues and pronouncements are not within the purview or expertise of our local City Council.

  2. NFb

    Would a ceasefire apply to both sides? Hamas has made it absolutely clear that it will settle for NOTHING less other than the complete destruction and elimination of Israel and has broken previous ceasefires by sending missiles into Israel (and, in the process targeting civilians.) It also targeted civilians on October 6, gang raping women for hours (many of them kibbutz peace activists who spent time seeing that Gazans got medical care) before brutally killing them and mutilating their bodies and even posting some of the atrocities and crimes against humanity on “social” media, because slowly torturing Jewish people is, in their view, worth bragging about.

    So, should a ceasefire be put in place what happens if Hamas strikes again? Will they be held accountable in any way, or is accountability only Israel? And what of Hamas’ atrocious human rights record in Gaza? Hamas wants not only the total elimination of Israel but to establish are rigid, fundamentalist theocracy where women are third class citizens and LBGTQ+ people are imprisoned (if not executed.) When I see photos of pro-Palestine (as opposed to pro-Palestinian) demonstrators wearing a keffiyeh, I can’t help but wonder why Hamas’s treatment of women and sexual minorities gets ignored. There is a reason so many LGBTQ+ Gazans go to great lengths to get INTO Israel.

    Israel certainly and absolutely has a lot to answer for in regards to its treatment of Palestinians over the years and a two state solution is the only possible hope fora lasting peace. Unfortunately for that to happen Hams needs to be out of the picture. Likewise so does Netanyahu. Color me pro-Isreal and anti-Netanyahu, as well as pro-Palestine and anti-Hamas.

    And none of this gets into the spot on comment from the previous poster. This is not an issue that is in the purview of Asheville City Council. I will add to that the fact that no matter how much time council spends discussing the issue, no matter if any vote is unanimous it will have absolutely ZERO effect on bringing about a ceasefire, rendering such an action quixotic at best.

    I suspect council members know that, and given that they no doubt get hundreds and e-mails and letters every week and likely do not have a large personal staff to attend to them have to do a little triage and answers those communications that DO fall under their purview and on which they can actually accomplish something.

  3. gapple

    Was there a city council resolution denouncing the brutal attack on international music festival attendees by the crazed and blood thirsty Hamas? One that denounced the sexual assault on men, women and children? One that denounced the savagery from beheadings to burning babies alive? One that denounced the taking of hostages for use as human shields and who knows what else? The only resolution even possible is the complete destruction of Hamas and their Palestinian supporter, both in Gaza and abroad including their support from the UN.

  4. Enlightened Enigma

    It is idiotic for anyone to demand that any US city or state call for a Gazan cease fire.

  5. Voirdire

    Your painstakingly and carefully “crafted” resolution is nothing short of a litmus test. In fact, it’s also nothing more than that ( ..other than your usual grandstanding). That, and I think maybe this is somewhat beyond the city council’s purview, oui? Honestly, you and yours need to get a life. sigh. Oh and btw, if you somehow have deluded yourself into thinking you’re somehow helping the people of Gaza with your boilerplate antics …well, it’s not. Not one iota.

    • Anne Craig

      Apparently, some of these commenters did not have the opportunity to read the resolution which basically asks for council to support it and send it on to our congressional representative who actually CAN have an influence. Here is the text of the resolution. Currently, a congressional representative’s district is around 750,000 constituents, not 650,000 .

      Resolution Calling for a Ceasefire in Gaza

      Whereas, a representative in Congress represents over 650,000 people.

      Whereas, local elected officials in the United States take an oath of office promising to support the U.S. Constitution,

      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.”

      Whereas, the ongoing assault on Gaza has resulted in catastrophic loss of Palestinian lives, injuries, destruction and increasing hostilities which threaten the existence of the Palestinians as a people, and widens war in the region, and has not resulted in the release of the Israeli hostages nor promoted true safety for anyone,

      Whereas, the United States is funding and enabling this ongoing assault by sending taxpayer funded weapons to Israel and its national Administration is enabling the assault by refusing to call for an immediate and complete ceasefire,

      Whereas, San Francisco, Oakland, Richmond, Detroit, Atlanta, Seattle and other local governments have already passed resolutions urging the U.S. government to support an immediate and complete ceasefire in Gaza.

      Therefore, be it resolved that the City of Asheville declares its support for an immediate and durable ceasefire, the immediate delivery of ample and life-saving humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians, for freeing of all hostages, and for an end to antisemitic, anti-Palestinian, Islamophobic, and all xenophobic rhetoric and attacks across our country and will submit this resolution to our Congressional representative.

      • RG

        It does seem reasonable that if locals and elected officials can sound off about slavery and other similar injustices from long ago, they should be able to take a stand in the present…where are the reparations people?

        • SpareChange

          Although I am not very supportive at this stage of the reparations process that has played out in Asheville (where the Council called for reparations and allocates money without first giving thought to what reparations mean, or what form they should take), it is nonetheless an entirely different issue, and one that at least falls within the city’s purview. The Asheville reparations resolution focuses on things the city has done, and calls for things which the city can enact. Totally different from trying to engage and influence an international conflict on the other side of the world.

      • Voirdire

        Just maybe you might want to checkout whom exactly is your congressional representative to the US Congress. Again, your myopic delusional insistence that it’s your way or the highway isn’t going to help the people of Gaza. But, I’m quite sure your and yours relentless righteousness is all that really matters here …per usual. sigh.

      • NFB

        So, why not just eliminate the middleman (or, in this case middlewomen) and contact Chuck Edwards directly? If the nearly 2,000 people who signed the petition contact him directly it might carry more weight than if the elected council of a city he has nothing but disdain and contempt for sends support for a resolution calling for a ceasefire.

        • Anne Craig

          Yes, a number of us have met personally with Rep. Edwards and his aides. The resolution has been sent to Edwards’ aide.There have been numerous efforts to call attention to the suffering of the people of Gaza. A ceasefire would be good for Israel also. The moral harm that is being created for both Israelis and soldiers doesn’t help solve anything, only foment it. Our government has great influence in the region and could be doing much more to end the suffering…instead, it sends more and more weapons to a state (Israel) already armed to the teeth, refuses to call for a ceasefire or to get immediate necessary aid to Palestinians. We stand by watching a genocide in motion for reasons that evade me…we have truly lost our way..

          • NFB

            Hamas has been emphatic that its goal is the complete and total destruction of Israel and that Israels mere existence is non-negotiable. It has said that attacks on Israel will continue and it has refused to even release the names of the hostages it olds in violation of international law. How can anyone trust Hamas to abide by any terms of a cease fire?

      • T100

        Hamas started the war and they can end it anytime they choose by surrendering unconditionally (see Germany and Japan in 1945)

  6. Insolidarity24

    The beheading of babies, the sexual assaults on men, women, and children, and the burning of babies alive are Israeli propaganda that has been debunked over and over again. No forensic evidence or any credible eyewitness testimony substantiates it. Spreading these lies to support the genocidal slaughter of civilian men, women, and CHILDDREN, illustrates the debased fanaticism of a Zionist ideology completely devoid of any shared humanity.

    The military operation by Hamas on Oct. 7 was the result of 75 years of oppression, murder, and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people by the Zionist State of Israel. While the death of civilians on Oct. 7, many of whom were killed by Israeli forces, is tragic, the slaughter of over 30,000 civilian Palestinians, including over 14,000 children, and the slow systematic starvation tactics on top of refusing to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, by the Israeli government, since then is not justifiable on any level.

    Historically, the Palestinians have attempted numerous negotiations to bring about a fair and secure lasting peace, but Zionist Israel turned them down every time.

    As far as calling for a ceasefire by Asheville’s city council is “not in its purview”, Asheville taxpayers are helping to fund the genocide and anyone who does not support a cease-fire is complicit in the genocide. Taking a stand against the slaughter, while it may not result in ending it, is a statement that these crimes against humanity are not being done in their name.

    To move forward and ensure peace and security for Palestinians, Israelis, and the world at large the cease-fire must be followed by an end to the Palestinian occupation, and the restoration of the inalienable right of self-determination to this besieged population whose only desire, historically, has been and continues to be to live in peace and security with its neighbors.

    • NFB

      The beheading of babies has indeed been debunked.

      The rapes of many of the more than 1200 men, women, and children victims killed by Hamas has been confirmed and documented.

      Hams knew what Israel’s reaction to their terrorist attacks would be and knew full well that many Gazans would be killed as a result, but happily offered them up for the slaughter and used many as human shields.

      Hamas has been completely up front that its goal is the compete and total destruction of Israel. Until 2017 its charter called for the killing a Jewish people everywhere which is the actual definition of the word “genocide.” It did amend its charter to limit its call of murdering Jewish people to those who live in Israel but it has never repudiated its original call. It has said that attacks like the one last October will continue.

      So, why should anyone think that any ceasefire will last? Again, would such a ceasefire apply to both sides? What happens when a ceasefire is declared and Hamas sends missiles into Israel and/or launches another brutal attack?

      Until Palestinians recognize the right of Israel to exist and can assure Israel that a Palestinian state will NOT be a threat to Israel’s security there will be no peace in the Middle East.

      Gaza has been a defacto Palestinian state for nearly 20 years and has shown that such a state is unwilling to even attempt living in peace with a Jewish state.

      It has also shown that it is unwilling to recognize basic human rights for women, LGBTQ+ people, and anyone else who does not share its vision of a rigid theocratic state.

      In order for there to be any hope for a two state solution, which itself is the only hope for peace, both Hamas and Netanyahu need to be sent to the ash heap of history.

        • In solidarity24

          I’m assuming you read past the headline “UN Finds Evidence of Sexual Violence by Hamas Since Oct. 7”

          I read the article and I didn’t read anything about “evidence” in the UN report. On the contrary, the report is filled with words and phrases the UN team used like “has found reasonable grounds,” has gathered “clear and convincing information,” makes clear that “although circumstantial may be indicative of” and “hasn’t verified those claims.” While producing no credible witnesses or forensic evidence of the alleged atrocities.

          The article states that the team reviewed more than 5,000 photos and 50 hours of footage of the attacks, as well as conducting interviews with dozens of Israeli officials. According to the article the team “. . . said the true prevalence of sexual violence during the attack and afterward “may take months or years to emerge and may never be fully known.”

          So a lot of the “evidence” collected are pictures, footage, and interviews of Israeli officials provided by Israeli officials. If you can prove beyond the shadow of a doubt the veracity of these claims, with this limited albeit unfounded “evidence,” please by all means have at it.

          According to the mission team, “Across the various locations of the 7 October attacks, the mission team found that several fully naked or partially naked bodies from the waist down were recovered – mostly women – with hands tied and shot multiple times, often in the head,” according to the report Monday led by Pramila Patten, the UN’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict. “Although circumstantial, such a pattern of undressing and restraining of victims may be indicative of some forms of sexual violence.”

          “Although circumstantial” and “May be indicative of some forms of sexual violence,” doesn’t sound like a slam dunk to me.

          Pushback around these allegations is widespread, especially from Independent Media. The New York Times has pulled back on its reporting of these fraudulent claims due in part to a full-blown ruckus from its staff who are questioning the accuracy of its reporting. Truth be told pushing this narrative is one of the best and most egregious examples of journalism malfeasance since the WMDs in Iraq lie that drug us into a war resulting in the mass slaughter of one million Iraqi civilians and has helped destabilize the Middle East for nothing.

          This widespread lie alleging systematic sexual violence by Hamas was manufactured by the Israeli government to garner support for its genocide. Because they have nothing else that comes even close to excusing the bombing of, the starving of, and the denying aid of over 30,000 civilians including over 14,000 children in Gaza, with more death and destruction to come.

          For solid investigative reporting on the UN’s report, I would suggest reading the following analysis of these trumped-up charges, no pun intended.


          • SpareChange

            Ahh yes. By all means, lets believe the reporting in the, “Grayzone.” A publication which has denied that Syria’s Asaad has conducted a war against his own people resulting in more than 600,000 deaths. That has excused China’s actions against the Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China, and which has sided with Russia in its war on Ukraine. All positions, by the way, which line up with the platforms and positions of the Party for Socialism & Liberation, which has been behind much of the sporadic protests in Asheville.

            If those calling for this resolution from the city council are sincere, at least be intellectually and factually honest in saying that you support religious based Islamo-Fascism, and wish to see the destruction of Israel because you think this will somehow help bring down capitalism. You’d still be wrong, but at least you’d be honest about your politics.

      • Noreen Nickolas

        I will be addressing the fraudulent sexual violence claims in another commenter’s post.


        A Document of General Principles and Policies is the newly revised charter that Hamas released in 2017. It replaces the 1988 charter. The new charter, which Hamas is operating under now, states that Hamas’ fight is not with the Jews but with the Zionist project. At the time Hamas leader Khaled Mashal Mashal stated that the new document reflected “our position for now, which means that we are not a rigid ideological organization … The old charter was a product of its era, 30 years ago. We live in a different world today.”

        On the other hand, Israeli officials have confirmed through documented comments what their genocidal intentions are toward the Palestinians:

        Citing the Bible in a televised address: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proclaimed “You must remember what Amalek has done to you.” Amalekites were persecutors of the biblical Israelites, and a biblical commandment says they must be destroyed.”

        After the Hamas attack, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Israel was “fighting human animals,” while announcing a complete siege on Gaza.

        Deputy Knesset speaker Nissim Vaturi wrote on X, that Israelis had one common goal, “erasing the Gaza Strip from the face of the earth.”

        and Israeli Heritage Minister Amichay Eliyahu, suggested that Israel drop a nuclear bomb on Gaza and said there were “no uninvolved civilians” in the territory.

        The proof is in the pudding.

        Israel has never really supported it and has made certain that a two-state solution is impossible. So, the only true path to peace is for a ceasefire now, followed up by an end to the occupation, restoring and rebuilding what Israel has destroyed, and allowing the Palestinians to decide for themselves moving forward what their future will be.

        • NFB

          So what happens with a cease fire when (and history has shown when, not if) it is broken by Hamas. It will continue to send missiles into Israel and, when it sees an opportunity, will launch another October 7 attack. It has been most upfront on its goals.

          Hamas has also not allowed an election in Gaza in nearly 20 years. Why do you think they would allow “Palestinians to decide for themselves moving forward what their future will be?” They have no interest in the safety, secuirity, or well being of ordinary Palestinians which is why they offered them up for the slaughter by launching its Octiber 7 attacks knowing full well that Israel would respond.

          Hamas did indeed change their charter to remove calls for genocide against Jews worldwide, but it has never actually repudiated that call other than to say “that was then this is now.” It continues to say it will settle for nothing less than the complete destruction and elimination. How does a ceasefire work under conditions like that?

          Israel’s opposition to a two state solution is exceeded only by Hamas’ opposition to one which, again, includes continued calls for the destruction if Israel.

    • indy499

      The only phrase you wrote that made any sense was, “the military operation by Hamas…”

      You get attacked, you respond or you immediately get a new leader who lives in the real world.

      • Insolidarity24

        The UN Charter states:

        UNGA Resolution 3314 (1974) affirmed the right of self-determination, freedom, and independence for all “peoples under colonial and racist regimes or other forms of alien domination,” and affirmed the “right of these peoples to struggle to that end and to seek and receive support.”[1]

        UNGA Resolution 37/43 (1982) reaffirmed the “inalienable right” of the Palestinian people “and all peoples under foreign and colonial domination” to self-determination. It also reaffirmed the legitimacy of “the struggle of peoples for […] liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, including armed struggle.”

        Since nothing else in my comment makes sense “me thinks a history lesson in order.” May I suggest two excellent resources:

        The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917–2017 by Rashid Khalidi

        General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine Kindle Edition by Miko Peled (Author)

        Both books can be found on Amazon.

  7. indy499

    If Craig’s assessment of all the hours put into this submission is anywhere near accurate, we know this little rag tag group that posts on foreign and defense matters every couple days is made up of people who are delusional and have lots of hours to waste each day.

  8. Bright

    “Foreign policy issues and pronouncements are not within the purview or expertise of our local City Council.” Asheville…clean up your city of the graft and corruption that infests it before moving on to trying to control other places . You have no good foundation on which to establish credibility anywhere else.

  9. T100

    Hamas STARTED the war by invading Israel. They can STOP it any time they want by laying down their arms and offering unconditional surrender as Germany and Japan did in 1945.

    If they did that, which they will NOT, Israel would immediately stop military action.

  10. Voirdire

    Hamas, Hezbollah et al and their jihadist supporters. Netanyahu and his Ultra Orthodox supporters. The Rump and his fascist/ racist MAGA evangelical supporters. Putin his billionaire cabal ruling over their captive population. The Saudi/UAE et al regimes and their repressed Shia populations. The Iranian theocracy and their desperately impoverished masses. China, North Korea, Myanmar, Venezuela, Cuba …the list goes on and on and on. What do they all have in common? The ordinary Palestinians are pawns. So are the ordinary Israelis. And, then there is the inescapable fact that there are 4 billion plus more people on this little planet now than its dwindling resources can sustain. This isn’t going to end well, not for any of us. We can only hope that the meek will indeed inherit the earth… what’s left of it anyway. In the meantime, might makes right.. which might be not such a bad thing after all.

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