Davis City Council Unanimously Calls for an Immediate Ceasefire in Gaza

Photo by براء حبوش on Unsplash

By Yolo For Palestinian Justice

Davis, CA – On December 12, the Davis City Council unanimously adopted a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, joining the growing majority of people in the US and worldwide who demand that the bombing in Gaza must stop and that Palestinian and Israeli life must be protected.  The resolution will add to the growing pressure on US Congress and the Biden administration to use its political, financial and military leverage to pressure Israel to end the horrifying civilian casualties in Gaza.

The resolution also calls for immediate diplomatic efforts to achieve a just and lasting peace and resolution of the decades-long conflict; the unconditional release of all hostages—including both Israeli and Palestinian hostages; the immediate delivery of humanitarian aid, food, water, electricity, and medical supplies to Gaza; and that all parties adhere to international law. It also committed to sharing the City Council’s demands with the community’s state and federal representatives who have yet to call for a ceasefire (Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, State Senator Bill Dodd, Governor of California Gavin Newsom, US Representative Mike Thompson, US Senator Laphonza Butler, US Senator Alex Padilla, US President Joe Biden, and US Vice President Kamala Harris).

Prior to the meeting, on December 9, the City Council had published a draft resolution that many residents felt was inadequate, leading to a wave of public comments calling for it to be strengthened. Immediately before the City Council meeting, members of the Davis Jewish community hosted a Hanukkah menorah lighting outside of the chambers supporting a permanent and immediate ceasefire. The subsequent council discussion on the resolution lasted to nearly midnight with 450 public comments, emails and call ins, overwhelmingly in support of an immediate and permanent ceasefire. Community members from diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds, and all walks of life—including students, elders, faith leaders, medical professionals, lawyers, professors and a former city mayor—addressed the council.  University of California Davis (UCD) Professor Emerita Suad Joseph concluded the round of public comment asking the City Council to “think of your children, think of your grandchildren. What will they say about the moral position that you take [tonight]?”

In response, the councilors agreed unanimously to strengthen the resolution with a specific call for an immediate ceasefire.  Vice Chair Josh Chapman noted his sadness at the pain and grief the crisis caused many residents of Davis with differing views on how it could be resolved, but stated that he did not believe such difficulty means the City should put its head in the sand and not declare its position. City Councilmember Donna Neville advocated for a demand for a ceasefire saying, “This is a humanitarian issue, it is about the need to stop the violence and work towards a lasting and peaceful solution in the region. We have the moral imagination to make that happen.”

Responding to the City’s resolution, Palestinian American and Davis resident Deema Tamimi said: “I am so proud of Davis. The people of this city came out and showed their commitment for peace and love with a resounding call for a ceasefire. People were heard, no matter where they stood on the issue, and for me and for others, the ability to voice our opinions and tell our stories freely was a step towards healing. It gives me hope that there is a possibility for peace in Israel and Palestine. Violence is not the path. I am hopeful more and more cities will pass ceasefire resolutions to ensure that our state and federal government know that the people want an end to this violence. If our state and federal leaders can’t heed the call from the UN and human rights organizations, then it is our job at the local level to pressure them.”

UCD Jewish Studies Professor Seth Sanders shared, “According to the scripture we read at the beginning of Hanukkah, when asked what the Menorah means, the angel says ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit.’” Tonight we found that the Davis community is on the same page here, sharing the same commitment to the supreme value we term in Hebrew pikuach nefesh, protecting human life. So many members of the Jewish community turned out last night in solidarity with our beloved neighbors to call for an immediate ceasefire, mourn the dead in Israel and Palestine, and work for a lasting and just peace for all.”

One UCD graduate student added, “More and more cities and communities across California, the US, and the world are calling for a ceasefire, reflecting the anger and grief felt by people of conscience everywhere over Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza, that is being carried out with US funding, arms, diplomatic cover, and unconditional support by the Biden administration. At least 60% of the US public support a ceasefire. Yet our voices are not heard or reflected by our politicians, including Congressman Mike Thompson and Senators Alex Padilla and Laphonza Butler.  We urge them to join the call for a ceasefire.”

Prior to the effort to have the City of Davis adopt a ceasefire resolution, a group of Yolo County residents had come together to press their local congressman, Mike Thompson, to support the congressional call for a ceasefire (H.Res. 786).  Constituents have been holding weekly vigils outside his Woodland office and had met with the Congressman in person at his Napa office in November.  They shared stories of personal losses and expressed humanitarian arguments with the Congressman. He agreed with the need to protect civilian life, but has so far refused to call for a ceasefire or offer any concrete steps he would take to protect Palestinian lives.

Annie Temple, a longtime Jewish resident of Davis said, “I feel proud of Davis and the Jewish community today. We stood on the right side of history, just as we did being the first city to call for the end to the South African Apartheid regime in 1978. This is a call to our state and national leaders that the tide of public opinion in the US has turned and it is time their policies and actions reflected it—we need a ceasefire and we need it now.”

The final wording of the agreed resolution can be found here

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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1 Comment

  1. Todd Edelman

    Wow, hundreds of people! I see that they’re not in the resolution in specific terms, but was there any discussion about Palestinians in jails in Israel… or the West Bank?

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