Update - Bellingham, Washington City Council unanimously passes resolution calling for permanent cease-fire in Gaza
It took nine years and a do-over, but perseverance and peaceful protest win out
On Monday, Bellingham, Washington’s City Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting an “Immediate Ceasefire in Gaza, Israel and Palestine,” crafted by Whatcom (County) Families for Justice, Whatcom Peace & Justice Center, and Veterans for Peace Chapter 111. Interestingly, Bellingham’s latest successful resolution effort is a do-over from Operation Protective Edge in 2014, when a similar Gaza resolution calling for an end to violence on both sides, failed for the simple lack of a second. The Israeli tactic of “mowing the grass” in the Gaza Strip nine years ago, resulting in more than 2,000 Palestinian deaths, including 500 children, was not enough to move the measure forward. Threats, intimidation and political expediency won out.
But that was then.
Almost a decade later, visibly affected Council Members passed the latest version of the resolution during its preliminary Committee of the Whole discussion. Following measured revisions to the original draft submitted by local activists, an impassioned Council recognized the urgency of the 2023 carnage in Gaza and voted unanimously to support its passage during that evening’s business meeting.
Since October 7 at least 17,487 Palestinians have been killed with U.S. bombs - 70% of them women and children - and 46,000 injured, according to the latest Gaza Health Ministry numbers. U.N. monitors claim the ministry figures are an under-report, with thousands still buried under rubble.
And tonight, with virtually no time left for a 2023 do-over, love, kindness, hope, and peaceful protest, won out, when Bellingham stepped up.
Councilwoman Lisa Anderson, who introduced the controversial resolution after extensive discussions with community leadership, including Jewish representatives, weighed in during its afternoon session,
“How will we be measured looking back ten years from now if our voices are silent when what’s happening in Palestine goes unabated…the Palestinian people are not Hamas and yet they’re bearing the weight of their actions. A lot of women and children have died because of the actions of a terrorist group…and that’s not OK.”
Adding, “And our government shouldn’t be supporting that.”
A standing-room only turnout applauded when the City Council vote was taken, as Bellingham joined dozens of similar measures nationwide, most recently Seattle. Almost two hours of comment followed from a largely grateful crowd before the meeting could finally adjourn.