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LA City Councilmembers Introduce Ceasefire Resolution

Israel supporters claim the resolution is “riddled with errors and omissions"
[additional-authors]
June 7, 2024
Los Angeles City Hall building. tupungato/Getty Images

Three Los Angeles City Councilmembers introduced a resolution calling for a ceasefire in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war on June 4.

The resolution, introduced by Councilmembers Nithya Raman (CD 4) and Eunisses Hernandez (CD 1) and seconded by Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez (CD 13), begins by acknowledging that on Oct. 7 “1,200 Israelis were killed in a surprise attack by Hamas, in which approximately 240 Israelis were also taken captive”; it then states that “more than 37,000 Palestinians, the vast majority of whom were women and children” have killed by Israeli forces since Oct. 7. “The City of Los Angeles … profoundly mourns the senseless and inhumane loss of civilian life in Palestine and Israel, and is deeply disturbed at the sustained violence unfolding in the region,” it reads.

The resolution claims that a famine is “imminent” in the Gaza Strip and that “2.3 million Gazans have been internally displaced.” It also states that “President Joe Biden has called for an immediate and permanent ceasefire” as have “world leaders, government officials, humanitarian organizations” and others.

“Now therefore be it resolved, that the City joins the call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, the immediate and unconditional return of all the hostages, and the safe and immediate passage of unhindered humanitarian aid and medical care to Gaza,” the resolution declares, adding that “the City will not tolerate any form of harmful and racist language, especially antisemitic, anti-Palestinian, and Islamophobic hate speech toward anyone.”

The Los Angeles Daily News quoted Hernandez as saying during the June 4 city council meeting, “The call for a ceasefire has been used by world leaders, humanitarian organizations, labor unions, students and the global community. It’s past time that Los Angeles joined that chorus … Over the last seven months, Angelenos from all walks of life have come together to mourn this terrible violence.” Hernandez also stated that some city workers have been “pushing for this resolution internally for some time,” reported the Daily News.

The Israeli-American Civic Action Network (ICAN) excoriated the resolution in a press release, contending that “the resolution is riddled with errors and omissions … There is no mention of Hamas as a terrorist organization or the brutal manner in which they murdered their victims and engaged in sexual violence,” ICAN’s press release stated. “It ignores the fact that many Americans were murdered and taken hostage, including Californians. And there is no mention of the fact that several other countries had nationals who the Hamas terrorist organization brutally murdered and took hostage.”

ICAN also accused the resolution of promulgating “disinformation” for citing the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry’s numbers, as they “don’t distinguish between Hamas terrorists and Gazan civilians, and they ascribe all innocent deaths to Israel while ignoring that Hamas often kills their own people purposefully through executions and accidentally through rocket misfires (approximately) 20% of rockets launched fall back into Gaza) and other combat-related mishaps.” In ICAN’s view, the resolution “implicitly” blames Israel for the famine, but does not mention “the fact that Hamas steals humanitarian aid and otherwise hampers its distribution,” nor does it mention that “billions in international aid have been stolen to support Hamas leaders in Qatar.

“Hamas used construction materials to build terrorist tunnels instead of civilian infrastructure, and they use schools, hospitals, and homes for military purposes,” ICAN said. “They have launched tens of thousands of rockets targeting millions of innocent Israeli civilians. Despite numerous ceasefire proposals, Hamas has consistently rejected them and, according to the Biden administration, is currently obstructing one.”

ICAN further criticized the resolution for not mentioning that Iran’s role “a state sponsor of proxy terrorism aimed at Israel” or that Qatar funds, trains, houses and advocates for Hamas; ICAN also lambasted the resolution for omitting the “approximately 300,000 Israelis [that] have been internally displaced due to the ongoing conflict with Hamas and Hezbollah” and pointed out how Hezbollah has sparked raging fires in northern Israel.

Regarding the resolution’s denunciation of antisemitism, anti-Palestinianism and Islamophobia, ICAN alleged that the resolution ignored “anti-Israeli and anti-Israel hate speech.”

“We are tired of activist politicians dehumanizing Israeli immigrants in America with their ignorance of history, lack of awareness of current events, and outright hostility against Jews fighting for self-determination in their ancestral land of Israel,” ICAN CEO Dillon Hosier said in a statement. “Los Angeles is home to the largest community of Israelis outside of Israel, and this resolution, filled with obvious Hamas disinformation, makes all Jewish and Israeli-Angelenos a target. Councilmembers Hernandez, Raman, and Soto-Martinez should be ashamed of themselves.”

StandWithUs CEO and Co-Founder Roz Rothstein said in a statement to The Journal, “StandWithUs condemns the extremely biased resolution backed by L.A. City Council members Hernandez, Raman, and Soto-Martinez. The rest of the Council must unequivocally reject any resolution that promotes misinformation about the Oct. 7 War or supports Hamas terrorists remaining in control of Gaza. This war has been horrific for both Israelis and Palestinians, and city councils have a responsibility not to make a terrible situation even worse. Those who want to help must focus on pressuring Hamas to release all the hostages and lay down its arms.”

Siamak Kordestani, board member of Jews Indigenous to the Middle East & North Africa (JIMENA), wrote in an open letter to the city councilmembers and their chiefs of staff that the resolution is “outrageously one-sided.” Kordestani noted that the resolution cited the Gaza Health Ministry numbers without mentioning that the United Nations “dramatically revised” the number of identified women and children in the death toll and “places the blame for civilian deaths on the Israeli military rather than the Hamas, which hides behind civilian shields.” In Kordestani’s view, a more balanced resolution on the war should mention that Oct. 7 “was the largest massacre of Jewish people since the Holocaust” and that “Israel has a right to defend itself.” It should also mention, he contended, that Hamas uses civilians as human shields and committed rapes and sexual assaults on Oct. 7, as well as the fact that Hamas repeatedly rebuffed Israel’s ceasefire proposals.

“There was already a ceasefire on October 6, 2023,” he wrote. “The elimination of governing and military capabilities of Hamas is necessary for a lasting ceasefire. Hamas has said it plans to do attacks like Oct. 7 again and again.”

The Journal’s requests for comment to the offices of Raman, Hernandez and Soto-Martinez were not immediately returned.

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