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Seattle City Council calls for long-term cease-fire in Israel, Gaza

Nov 22, 2023, 3:15 PM

ceasefire palestine israel...

UNRWA distributes flour to Palestinian refugees on November 22, 2023 in Khan Yunis, Gaza. (Photo by Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images)

Through a resolution passed Tuesday night, the Seattle City Council is calling for a long-term cease-fire in Gaza alongside an immediate return of all hostages and restoration of humanitarian aid.

“All human life is precious and the targeting of civilians, no matter their faith or ethnicity, is a violation of international humanitarian law,” the resolution reads. “Between Oct. 7 and Nov. 21, 2023, armed violence has claimed the lives of over 14,000 Palestinians (nearly half of whom are children) and over 1,200 Israelis. The death toll has included Americans, and tens of thousands more have been wounded.”

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Israel and Hamas reached an agreement on a four-day truce Tuesday night. Qatar announced Hamas will release 50 hostages in exchange for what Hamas said would be 150 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. Those released by both sides will be women and minors.

The hostages would be released in bursts throughout the cease-fire. Once the first batch is released, Israel is expected to free the first group of Palestinian prisoners.

Those up for release include many teenage boys detained during a wave of violence in the West Bank in 2022 or 2023 and charged with offenses such as stone-throwing or disturbing public order, according to a list of eligible prisoners published by Israel’s Justice Ministry. Israel currently holds nearly 7,000 Palestinians accused or convicted of security offenses.

Israel said the truce would be extended by a day for every 10 additional hostages released.

Qatar said Israel would also allow more fuel and humanitarian aid into Gaza, but did not provide details.

Hamas said hundreds of trucks carrying humanitarian aid and fuel are to be allowed to enter Gaza every day as part of the deal. Supplies would also reach northern Gaza, the focus of Israel’s ground offensive, for the first time, Hamas said.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s national security adviser, Tzachi Hanegbi, said a planned swap has been delayed until at least Friday. Hanegbi gave no explanation for the delay, and it was not immediately clear when the cease-fire might begin.

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But Netanyahu, joined by the two other members of his special war cabinet, told a nationally televised news conference that the war would resume after the truce expires. Israel’s goals are to destroy Hamas’ military capabilities and return all 240 hostages held captive in Gaza.

“I want to be clear. The war is continuing. The war is continuing. We will continue it until we achieve all our goals,” Netanyahu said, adding he had delivered the same message in a phone call to President Joe Biden. He also said he had instructed the Mossad spy agency to hunt down Hamas’ exiled leadership “wherever they are.”

Seattle City Council members speak out

“This amendment is brought forward with the goal to add to the voices that are trying to end the bloodshed and save lives. Each day nearly 500 more people are killed,” council member Teresa Mosqueda said in a prepared statement. “This is not the time for posturing or for grandstanding when finding common ground and uniting around the urgent call for a ceasefire now and release of all hostages should be our uniting goal.”

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Mosqueda stated other jurisdictions have signed and created similar resolutions calling for a ceasefire, including Atlanta; Richmond, California; Providence, Rhode Island; Carrboro, North Carolina; Wilmington, Delaware; Akron, Ohio; Cudahy, California; Easton, Pennsylvania; Dearborn and Dearborn Heights, Michigan; and Ypsilanti, Michigan.

“This is not a watered-down resolution. It is focused,” Seattle City Council member Lisa Herbold said in a prepared statement. “It is focused on improving immediate conditions for Gaza’s 2.3 million people, 1.7 million of which have been displaced since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in Israel resulted in the killing of 1,200 Israelis and capture of 240 hostages. Since then, more than 11,000 people have been killed in besieged Gaza.”

The resolution also condemns rising antisemitism, Islamophobia, and anti-Palestinian/Arab bigotry, both nationally and locally.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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Seattle City Council calls for long-term cease-fire in Israel, Gaza