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Lansing City Council supports ceasefire in Gaza and Israel

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators march during a visit by President Joe Biden in Warren, Mich., Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Paul Sancya/AP
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators march during a visit by President Joe Biden in Warren, Mich., Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Michigan’s capital is officially supporting a ceasefire in Gaza and Israel. The Lansing City Council unanimously approved a resolution on the issue Monday night following an outpouring of support from residents.

The resolution drafted by Lansing’s Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion recognizes a “globally connected community.”

City councilmembers voted on the issue without discussion, save for a reading of the document.

“This resolution denounces Islamophobia and antisemitism, anti-Palestinian bigotry and anti-Israeli bigotry,” explained City Councilmember Trini Pehlivanoglu. “It states that the City of Lansing stands on the side of human rights, peace and justice.”

The declaration also includes calls for “the safe return of all innocent hostages and detainees,” while pledging to send a copy of the city’s resolution to Congress and the White House.

Lansing City Council’s vote followed more than an hour of public comment from more than 40 people. Officials noted the meeting room was at capacity, while several people watched the decision from a separate location in City Hall.

Nearly all speakers remarked on the plight of Palestinians facing widespread destruction and starvation as Israel continues its military response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, which killed 1,200 Israelis and displaced thousands more.

Israel’s four-month offensive in Gaza has killed more 28,000 Palestinians, mostly women and minors according to local health officials. The war prompted South Africa to file genocide charges against Israel at the International Court of Justice.

Many who spoke to the Lansing City Council criticized an Israeli raid in Rafah this weekend, where at least 1.4 million Palestinians have taken refuge.

“It’s horrific knowing how many people have died in Gaza,” Christian Grant said. “I think that if any one of us were in their scenario, we would want every good human on Earth to do what they can to end it.”

Several speakers wore keffiyehs, a symbol of Palestinian identity and nationalism. Some members of the audience snapped their fingers and stood in agreement with those who spoke in support of the ceasefire resolution.

“We believe in one shared humanity and that our actions, however local, carry global implications for our shared morality,” Anna Martinez-Hume told the City Council.

Lansing’s ceasefire resolution comes as Michigan voters look to sway American foreign policy during an election year.

The city joins Detroit and Dearborn in calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. Neighboring East Lansing rejected a resolution in January that labeled Israel’s military campaign a “war crime.”

Some are campaigning to cast an uncommitted ballot in the state’s Democratic presidential primary later this month to protest President Biden’s stance on Gaza and Israel.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Eli Newman is assistant news director and editor. He works with the WKAR news and digital content teams to facilitate the creation of meaningful and thought-provoking multimedia news content for WKAR Public Media.
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