Opinion: Resolution in Support of Ceasefire in Gaza en Route to Amherst Town Council [updated]


Recent peace demonstration at the Coolidge Bridge in Northampton in support of a ceasefire in Gaza. Photo: Rudy Perkins

Amherst Residents Invited to Join The Growing List of Sponsors 

Josna Rege

The Government Organization and Legislation Committee (GOL) of the Amherst Town Council unanimously approved (5-0)  as “clear, consistent, and actionable” a Resolution in Support of a Ceasefire in Gaza at their meeting of February 8 and sent it on to the Town Council for further consideration. The council is expected to take up the resolution for substantive discussion and an endorsement vote at their next meeting on February 26. The ceasefire resolution is sponsored by two town councilors, Patricia De Angelis (District 2) and Ellisha Walker (at large), and a group of 240 community sponsors, all Amherst residents, which has grown to 354 as of February 16 and is expected to continue to grow. The resolution was first submitted to the Amherst Town Council on January 22 and announced during public comment at the most recent council meeting on February 5 (see also here).

To date, the town-wide response to the ceasefire initiative has been very positive. Inspired by the success of dozens of such resolutions in towns and cities across the country, it has grown organically from a first draft on Martin Luther King Day and circulated by email and word of mouth, into a campaign with sponsors in every district and constituency in Amherst. The group of community sponsors is genuinely diverse, not by some imposed design, but because the horror of the devastation in Gaza, its continuing fallout throughout the region, and the pall it casts upon the future of the next generation, is a nightmare that overshadows everything else, from domestic politics in a presidential election year to local issues in towns and cities across the United States. Americans are very much aware that it is their tax dollars that go to provide the massive amounts of military aid that enable the bombardment of Gaza to continue.

Nothing can begin without a ceasefire. A ceasefire is the minimum pre-requisite for real political and diplomatic solutions to begin to be hammered out, for the long ordeal of the Israeli hostages to be ended at last, for food, water, medical supplies, and fuel to begin to address the needs of nearly two million displaced and starving people, for plans to rebuild from the rubble of the blasted homes can even begin to be realized, for the killing and maiming and orphaning of children to stop. Nothing can begin without a ceasefire. The people of Amherst, like people everywhere, know this.

From the outset, the loosely coordinated Amherst4Ceasefire team have been doing all we can to set a respectful tone for the conversation and to acknowledge the feelings of our townspeople at a time when many of us are deeply distressed. We see this resolution as a community-building initiative, one that will bring us together and enable all Amherst residents to feel safe and feel heard. It is being welcomed with relief by many of our townspeople, especially those who are the most affected by the ongoing onslaught in Gaza, whether they are Jewish, Muslim, Palestinian, or Arab Americans. Almost everyone we have spoken to or corresponded with to date has signed on without hesitation, and the few who have declined have responded courteously, willing to enter into a civil conversation.

Below we print the resolution in its entirety with its accompanying cover letter.

To the Amherst Town Council:

On October 16, 2023, the Amherst Town Council voted unanimously in support of a resolution to condemn the October 7th Hamas attack on Israel that killed more than a thousand Israelis. The resolution grieved for the Hamas-held hostages and their families, and also for civilians in Gaza “caught in the crossfire.” It stood in solidarity with members of the Amherst community who were affected by the crisis and, further, committed to join with others working for peaceful and just solutions.

Since then, the Israeli government response has been relentless. The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza, most of them civilians, nearly half of them children, has topped 28,800. Nearly two million residents of Gaza have been forced to leave their homes and, with humanitarian aid into Gaza blocked, aid agencies warn that more than half a million are facing death by starvation and disease. By mid-December 2023, “Israel had dropped 29,000 bombs, munitions and shells on the strip. Nearly 70% of Gaza’s 439,000 homes and about half of its buildings ha[d] been damaged or destroyed” (Malsin and Shah, WSJ, December 30, 2023). The conflict, unchecked, is rapidly spreading to the West Bank, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and beyond, while Prime Minister Netanyahu has vowed to continue the onslaught until “total victory” has been achieved. None of this violence enables the safe return of the remaining Israeli hostages. And still the United States government continues to pledge massive amounts of unconditional military aid to Israel and to resist international calls for a permanent ceasefire.

Nearly four months after the council’s initial resolution, issued in the immediate aftermath of the Hamas attack, we believe that it is time for Amherst to issue a follow-up resolution. The situation as it stands demands that we call for an immediate and sustained ceasefire, for the release of all the hostages and detainees (see this interview with a spokesperson from B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories), for humanitarian aid to be allowed into Gaza, and for aid agencies and medical personnel to be allowed to do their work safely, and for our own government to stop giving unconditional military aid to the Israeli government. This is not a partisan call, but a humanitarian one. 

Since October, 2023, threats, hate speech and attacks on both Jewish Americans and Palestinian and Muslim Americans have skyrocketed. Many members of our community have been deeply affected by the resulting climate of fear and distrust. The situation demands that we reiterate our commitment to support all our townspeople and to keep them safe.

According to a December 2023 poll of likely voters, a majority of Democratic and Independent voters and a plurality of Republican voters wanted the U.S. to call for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. That percentage was much higher among young voters. Our government’s unconditional support of this war is deeply unpopular among the American people, and it is an election year. Dozens of cities and towns across the country have issued ceasefire resolutions to let the administration know that it is out of step with the American people.

Municipalities across the country have been issuing resolutions calling for a sustained ceasefire in Gaza, but none in Western Massachusetts as yet. Passing a similar resolution in Amherst would not be merely a symbolic act. It would take a stand for peace and join the calls for the U.S. government to listen to the American people on this burning issue.

Josna Rege
for the  Amherst4Ceasefire team

(as amended and approved by the GOL, February 8, 2024)

Community Sponsors: 240 Amherst residents

Councilor Sponsors: Patricia De Angelis and Ellisha Walker

WHEREAS, on October 16th, 2023, the Amherst Town Council gave unanimous support to a resolution condemning the October 7th Hamas attack on Israel that took nearly 1,200 lives; and

WHEREAS, since October 7th, 2023, the Israeli government’s siege of Gaza has killed more than 27,500 Palestinians, most of them civilians, nearly half of them children; and

WHEREAS, more than 1.9 million residents of Gaza have been forced to leave their homes, many of them displaced multiple times; and

WHEREAS, humanitarian aid into Gaza has been blocked, threatening more than half a million people with death from starvation and disease; and

WHEREAS, during the temporary ceasefire in November 2023, 110 Israeli and international hostages and 240 Palestinian prisoners were released, since then, no further hostages or prisoners have been freed and more than twenty-five have died; and

WHEREAS, since October 7th, 2023, the United States government has pledged an additional $14 billion of unconditional military aid to the Israeli government and sent $250 million without Congressional approval; and

WHEREAS, the United States was the only nation to veto the United Nations Security Council call for a ceasefire; and

WHEREAS, the conflict is rapidly spreading to the West Bank, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and beyond; and

WHEREAS, the climate of fear, anger, and disinformation in the United States—and Amherst has been no exception—has led to an escalation of threats, hate speech, and hate crimes against Jewish, Palestinian, Muslim, and Arab Americans.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that we, the Amherst Town Council, call for an immediate and sustained ceasefire in Gaza, an end to the Israeli military siege of the Gaza Strip, the release of the hostages and detainees on both sides, the removal of obstacles to urgently needed humanitarian aid entering Gaza, and an end to unconditional United States. military aid to the Israeli government.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we extend our support to all the broken-hearted and vulnerable members of our Amherst community who are directly affected by this ongoing crisis, reaffirm our commitment to the safety of all members of our community, and pledge to join with others seeking just and peaceful solutions. 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Clerk of the Amherst Town Council shall cause a copy of this Resolution to be sent to President Joseph Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Edward Markey, and Representative Jim McGovern.


The following is an updated list of the community sponsors of Amherst’s Resolution in Support of a Ceasefire in Gaza, updated on February 16, 2024. Amherst4Ceasefire will continue to add names to the list until the Town Council meeting on February 26. To add your name, go to tinyurl.com/Amherst4Ceasefire.

Nancy Abdalla
Inge Ackermann
Andrew Ackroyd
Magda Ahmed
Rabia Ahmed
Simon Alciere
Natalie Aldrich
Jennifer Allen
Kathleen Anderson
Emery Anderson-Merritt
Jenny Arch
Shamsul Arefin
James Arsenault
Margaret Arsenault
Ingrid Askew
Ali Aslam
Margot Atkinson
Eric Bachrach
John Brooks Ballenger
Lois Barber
Maria S. Barbon
Amrita Basu
Deepankar Basu
María Baxter
Adi Bemak
Javiera Benavente
Jenny Berggren
Aaron Berman
Angelica Bernal
Peter Blood
Sarah Bluestein
Charlie Bodhi
Epi Bodhi
Ashley Bohan
Rachel Bond
John Bonifaz
Lissa Pierce Bonifaz
Marisol Pierce Bonifaz
Lissa Pierce Bonifaz
Marisol Pierce Bonifaz
Nina Bonifaz
Nina Brand
Michaela Brangan
Jill Brevik
Stephen Brevik
Amy Brodigan
Nick Bromell
Ira Bryck
Lenore Bryck
Jennifer Cannon
Amber Cano-Martin
Heleen Cardinaux
Robert Cardinaux
Rolf Carlstrom
Anna Carter
Angelica Castro
Sally Chaffee
Kimberly Chang
Allegra Clark
Sonya Clark
Mary Ellen Cohane
Al Cohen
Paul Collins
Jeff Conant
Joe Connolly
Louis Conover
Sarah Crary
Courtney Cullen
Toni B. Cunningham
Katja Hahn D’Errico
Nina Dabek
Omar Dahi
Jamie Daniels
Onupurba Das
Charron Daughtry
Brenda K. Davies
Ellie Davis
Heather Davis
Mithi Alexa de los Reyes
Lisa DePiano
Paola Di Stefano
Jen Dolan
Vira Douangmany Cage
Jennifer Douglass
Ya-Ping Douglass
Caitlin Duffy
Darcy DuMont
Steven Dunn
Gokhan Durmaz
Işıl Durmaz
Sara Eddy
Kate Edwards
Nageeb Elgadi
Kristine Elinevsky
Maya Elinevsky
Yoav Elinevsky
Khalid Elkalai
Samia Elshallali
Zeinab Elzebair
Michele Emanatian
Isabel Espinal
Jeanne Esposito
Luisa Feng
Cora Fernandez Anderson
Temistocles Ferreira
Barbara Findlen
Mark Firmani
Jeffrey Fishman
Cole Fitzpatrick
Katrina Fitzpatrick 
Nefeli Forni
Ava Fradkin
Alan Frank
Sarah Frobose
Rob Fuderich
Toon Fuderich
Meg Gage
Thomas Gardner
Graysen Garrett
Lisa Gaughran
Chuck Genre
Daniel Gerber
Fatemeh Giahi
Sneha Gole
Nicolás Gómez-Horton
Lauren Gonsalves
Katerina Gonzalez Schrade
Andrew Grant
Kristen Graser
Carol Gray
Seth  Gray 
Victor Guevara
Noor Habib
Julie Haddad
Karen Hakala
Salman Hameed
Sam Hannigan
Ava Harrington
Allen Hart
Meg Hart
Saekh Hasan
Rachael Hayes
Ruth Hazzard
Allie Ho
Laura Holland
Hannah Holleman
Amy Hollenbeck
Sarah Hoxie
Laura Jane Hunter
Marjorie Hutter
Julian Hynes
Bushra Islam
Lillian Israel
Kannan Jagannathan
Abed Jaradat
Nurah Jaradat
Brian B. Johnson
Jane McPhetres Johnson
Keith W. Johnson
Brooke Karunanande
David Kastor
Van Kaynor
Cathal Kearney
Sharon Kearney
Phyllis Keenan
Arthur Keene
Maura Keene
Leyla Keough-Hameed
Mark Kesselman
Hibat Khelifi
David King
Sarah Kleinschmidt
Jerry Koch-Gonzales
Rabbi Debra Kolodny
Kel Komenda 
Gracie Kowles
Mattea Kramer
Anne Krauss
Ramsey Kurdi
Corey Kurtz
Nechama L.

Michelle Labbe
Desiree Lalbeharie
Mehrene Larudee
Sadaf Latafat
Daniel  Lawren
Karen Lederer
Caroline Lederman
Olivia Lederman
Jeff Lee
Karen Marie Lennon
Jerry Levinsky
Nina Levison
Carol Lewis
Ron Liang
JuPong Lin
Alexander Liotta
Nancy Luce
Amanda Lugo
Manuel Antonio Paradela Maceiras
Kate Maiolatesi
Nina Mankin
Jay Mankita
Hind Mari
Roberto Márquez
Zea Marty
Deepika Marya
Rodger Mattlage
Nora McClellan
Susan McGinn
Jenifer McKenna
Patrick Meagher
Andrew Melnechuk
Liat Melnick
Aubrey Menard
Narayanan Menon
Meredith Michaels
Amir Mikhchi
Eiman Mikhchi
Joan Milam
Jane Mildred
Christine Mirabal
Chris Mohn
Michael Mongeau
Linda Barca Moreno
Kelly  Morgan
Lynn M. Morgan
Michael Morgan
Joanna Morse
Susana Mosquera 
Onawumi Jean Moss
Renee Moss
Hannah Moushabeck
Leyla Moushabeck
Samar Moushabeck
Caroline Murray
Sheshera Mysore
Maria  Narvaez 
Adeel Nasrullah
Catherine Newman
Sonia Nieto
Teya Nolan
Noelle Nubani
Eli O’Doherty
Rob Okun
Jim Oldham
Ester Orellana
Nancy Paglia
Jihyun Paik
Steven Palatt
Rani Parker
Michelle Parrish
Shailja Patel
Eva Paus
Deeya Pavelle
Linell Peralta
Anne Perkins
Rudy Perkins
Madeline Pescoe-Yang
Jack Pierson
Fran Plumer
Victoria Poletto
Carol Pope
Emily Potter-Ndiaye
Sarah Prager
Elizabeth Pretel
Laura Quilter
Julian Ramirez
Tamanna Rashid
Sadaf Rathod
Ashwin Ravikumar
Josna Rege
Maya Rege-Colt
Shel Reinertson
Erica Reisig
Ian Rhodewalt
Kristen Roeder
Tom Roeper
Bob Romer
Pat Romney
Jordan  Rooney 
Dennis Rosen
Iris Rosenfeld
Florence Rosenstock
Britt Rusert
Brian Sabel
Bridget Sadeghian
Cyrus Safizadeh
Shohini Saha
Menekse Sakirt
Nancy Sardeson
Margaret Sawyer
Anna Schrade
Daniel Kojo Schrade
Amilcar Shabazz
Peggy Shannon
David Sharken
Mariam Sheikh
Katie Shults
Jaqueline  Silva
Nicholas M. Simms
Dade Singapuri
Jonathan Sivel
Hannah Smith
Rhiannon Snide
Soleil Sonoda
Judith Souweine
Priyanka Srivastava
Megan St. Marie
Sean St. Marie
Ed Stanek
Hetty Startup
James Steinberg
Judy Stern
Uri Strauss
Laurie Tanenbaum 
Carlie Tartakov
Gary Tartakov
Michael Taylor 
Adrienne Terrizzi
Shubha Tewari
Devin Thomas
Kaitlin Thomas
Thakshala Tissera
Martha Toro
Susan Tracy
Jennie Traschen
Jim Turner
Merrylees Turner
Ash Turney
James van Luik
Kathryn Veatch
Russ Vernon-Jones
Mari Vicente
Rosemary von Schlegell
daniel wallack
allium warden
Grover Wehman-Brown
Nova Wehman-Brown
Richard Weiler
Gerry Weiss
Ryan Wells
Susan Wells
Elizabeth Welsh
Laura Wenk
Ted White
Paige Wilder
Dyan Wiley
Paul Wiley
Erika Williams
Nancy H. Wilson
Michelle Wilson 
Bob Winston
Nefeli Forni Zervoudaki
Ximena Zúñiga

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14 thoughts on “Opinion: Resolution in Support of Ceasefire in Gaza en Route to Amherst Town Council [updated]

  1. Hamas can end it all in five minutes if they surrender or leave Gaza and release/exchange all hostages and prisoners. A two-state solution will happen immediately only if Hamas is not part of it. Peace is attainable. Not enduring friendship, understood, but peace and cooperation.

  2. This resolution does not and should not get into the business of solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and planning a future for the region. It’s not Hamas that our U.S. tax dollars are funding, but an all-out military onslaught that is ruthlessly targeting civilians, committing war crimes and violating international humanitarian law. The Hamas attack on October 7th, 2023, which killed nearly 1,200 people, also violated international law by targeting civilians and taking civilian hostages, and on October 16th the Amherst town council was swift and unanimous in its condemnation. We are only asking, four months and nearly 30,000 dead later, for all lives to be valued as equally precious. We are asking our town to join the many cities and towns across the country in supporting a call for an immediate and sustained ceasefire–on both sides. And we call for the killing to stop not only because we are human but also because our tax dollars are massively funding that killing.

  3. I know this isn’t going to win me any popularity contests, but I take issue with Josna Rege’s assertions that Israel is deliberately targeting civilians, has committed war crimes or violated humanitarian law, all of which Hamas unquestionably did. Hamas provoked this war and prepared for it for years. 350-450 miles of tunnels, many of which are large enough for trucks, but not one square inch devoted to sheltering the population which Hamas professes to govern. Since Hamas took over Gaza in 2005, there have been repeated conflicts. Each time Israel is accused of collective punishment and disproportionality, doctrines which I can’t recall ever being evoked in any other world conflict. In its casualty figures, Hamas doesn’t differentiate between civilians and combatants because, to them, they are all the same. Israel is fighting an army which doesn’t wear uniforms and embeds itself in the civilian population. The United States armed Saudi Arabia’s war against the Houthis in Yemen, a conflict in which hundreds of thousands were killed and I don’t recall any resolutions about that. None of our town taxes is going to Israel. The language of this resolution equates Hamas with Israel, which I think is not only inaccurate but unfair. I don’t think the Town should weigh in on this issue. There are many other more direct avenues to voice dissent with US policy. Like everyone else I want a cease fire, the suffering on all sides to end and the hostages to be released. This resolution makes no mention of the hundreds of thousands of Israelis displaced or the thousands of missiles indiscriminately launched into Israel. I wish Netanyahu would go away as well as the present Palestinian leadership, but I can no longer keep silent.

  4. The proposed resolution regarding a ceasefire in the Israel/Hamas conflict that is being proposed to Amherst Town Council is factually flawed and should not be adopted in its current form. A resolution expressing a desire for peace, something we can all agree is desired, could be appropriately adopted but only if it is based on facts and fairness.

    The truth is that all of the Palestinians who have died since October 7 had no threat of death or injury on October 6. Their lives were certainly not what most people would consider satisfactory but they were not under any imminent threat of bombing or war or death or destruction. That changed on October 7 when Hamas, the governing power in Gaza that was elected by the people of Gaza, undertook their attack. They committed crimes of sexual violence, cruelty including burning babies while alive, and kidnapping civilians to hold as hostages. Where is the outrage and the “whereas” about rape and civilian murder as a tool of war?

    Did Hamas really have no idea what the response to the attack and the kidnapping and indefinite holding of hostages would be? Of course they did. They invited this response. Continuing to hold them while they know that the hostages cause Israel deep emotional trauma and are Israel’s top priority means that Hamas knowingly prolongs the war. This war is good for the Hamas brand. Their sole mission is the destruction and elimination of the state of Israel. It is not governing Gaza nor enriching the lives of its population. Responses like this proposed resolution reinforce the Hamas behavior.

    The recent history of Gaza is complicated and is part of a complicated history of the region. The people of Gaza elected Hamas in 2006 after Israel vacated Gaza and turned the governance over to the local population. Hamas proceeded to destroy the economic infrastructure that had the potential of turning Gaza into a prosperous enclave. Hamas preferred conflict with Israel as the Hamas charter calls for nothing less than the total destruction of Israel.

    There was a ceasefire in effect on October 7 which Hamas violated. The truth is that a ceasefire could be reestablished in one day. All it would require is that Hamas stops firing missiles into Israel and releases all of the hostages it is holding. All they have to do is order several busses from Israel and have the hostages and the bodies Hamas is holding picked up. Even Netanyahu would not be able to resist that offer. But Hamas will not release the hostages because it understands the deep emotional trauma and sense of vulnerability that the hostages represent to the Israeli people and Hamas uses that knowledge as a weapon, something that the Amherst petitioners either don’t understand or choose to disregard.

    The proclamation is specifically flawed in several ways:

    • It implies that children are a disproportionate part of the deaths and injuries. This is done for dramatic purpose. The population of Gaza is about 50% people under 16 years of age. The wording in the resolution implies that children are being targeted.

    • The number 27,500 does not take into account that it includes Hamas combatants who are certainly NOT innocent civilians. Further, Palestinians from Gaza who worked in Israel gave Hamas crucial information about the communities that were attacked. That is one of the reasons that it is so difficult to separate Hamas from the general population. I don’t see “Whereas, on October 7 there was widespread celebration in Gaza about the attack on Israel” in the resolution.

    • While humanitarian aid has been reduced and is inadequate, there is no mention that the aid is also blocked by Egypt who additionally has refused to let Gazans enter Egypt to find safety.

    • The U.S. aid to Israel is not unconditional. There have always been numerous restrictions on how the military aid can be used. A very significant part of the aid is for the Iron Dome defense system to protect Israel against continuing missile attacks.

    • The conflict is not “spreading rapidly” to other areas. There is additional regional conflict but it is contained and only might spread. The spread to this point has not been done by Israel but by groups in support of Hamas (Hezbollah, Houthis, Iran, Iraq, Syria). Hezbollah missiles land in Israel every day. The Israelis respond only defensively.

    This resolution is one-sided and biased. It is also unfairly aimed at the victim of October 7. There is a false equivalency in terms of responsibility and labels. “Hostages” and “detainees” are not of equal status. Israeli babies who were murdered and mutilated are not of equal status to Gazan children who are killed while being used as human shields by Hamas. There is not equal responsibility for the current state of this conflict.

    Israel is constantly held to standards that are not applied elsewhere. Where is the resolution calling on Putin to stop his invasion of Ukraine and the continuing deaths of civilians and children? Where is the “whereas” about Putin holding Ukrainian citizens in Russia? Are they going to condemn Ukraine for responding and killing Russian civilians in a drone strike?

    There will be no peace until truth and fairness are applied to BOTH sides. That includes the awful leadership of the Netanyahu government as well as the savagery of Hamas. I understand the feeling of helplessness and compassion when looking at pictures of suffering and dead children, no matter who the children are. That does not entitle anyone to ignore facts. A resolution that makes demands primarily on Israel as though it is responsible for this horrendous situation is unfair, unprincipled and should not be adopted.

  5. Thank you Steve and David. Josna Rege is quoted in today’s gazette “we see this resolution as a community- building initiative, one that allows all Amherst residents to feel safe and to feel heard.” I feel this is the opposite of community building, but rather completely divisive (and ineffective) I am feeling neither safe nor heard.

  6. 30k Gazans have been killed – 75% of them women and children. 70k injured. 1.9 million displaced. BBC reports that between 50-61% of all buildings in Gaza have been destroyed. Wall Street Journal reports that over 68% of all residences in Gaza have been destroyed. More than half a million people – 25% of the total population of Gaza are on the brink of dying of starvation while humanitarian aid is blocked at the border. Rafah, whose population has swelled to 1.7 million people in the last few days and is the last refuge in Gaza, and the place where Israel has directed Gazans to flee for safety, is now being decimated by Israeli bombing. A massacre is happening in Rafah right now.

    The intensifying suffering defies comprehension. And the US Senate just approved another $14 billion in military assistance to enable the Israeli government to continue the killing (That package does include humanitarian aid that Netanyahu has pledged to block).

    The killing will stop or the killing will continue. A cease fire stops the bombing, the carnage, and the suffering. Opposition, to a cease fire, is essentially an endorsement for that carnage and suffering to continue. We must all raise our voices and say, enough! Stop!

    Nothing can be repaired before this out-of-control killing stops.

    As an American and a Jew and a human, I find the justifications offered to continue the onslaught to be shameful. I reject and oppose the inhumane actions of the American and Israeli governments that are perpetrated in my name, in our names.

    Both the Israeli state and Hamas advocate for the extermination of the other side, envisioning a land from the river to the sea that is cleansed of either Jews or Palestinians. But there are 7 million Jews and 7 million Palestinians living in that territory, and the aspirations by one side to eliminate the other are delusional. It will either be endless killing and suffering and insecurity (without the hoped for ethnic cleansing) or coexistence. It must be coexistence! Those parties opposed to peace must be pushed aside in favor of sane and humane actors. And the path to peace begins with a cease fire.

    I call on my fellow Amherst residents to speak up in support of sanity, peace, and humanity and endorse the resolution for a cease fire that will be taken up by the Town Council on FEB 26.

  7. No Resolution on this Topic should exist without a simple statement which says that Hamas in Gaza and PLO in the West Bank recognize Israel’s right to exist. That is the only starting point toward peace and a two state solution. There is no point in doing anything without that acknowledgement.

  8. No one is against a cease fire. But this is a condemnation of Israel masquerading as a cease fire resolution. And I find the assertion that Israel is calling for the extermination of Palestinians shameful. Israel has traded land for peace in the Sinai and even in Gaza, where there wasn’t a blockade until Hamas took over. In the aftermath of the Six Day War, Israel offered to return land for peace only to receive the “Three No’s” at Arab League’s Khartoum Conference — “no negotiation, no recognition and no peace.” The root of this problem is that tragically two peoples lay claim to the same ancestral land. Palestinian leadership twists itself into knots denying any Jewish connection to the land. They say Jews aren’t really Jews or that Holocaust never happened or that Temple mound is a fiction. The latest is that Jesus Christ wasn’t even a Jew, but a Palestinian. If the Palestinians and the Arab world had accepted the partition in 1948 there would be two countries today. No Palestinian would have fled or been exiled if the Palestinians and the armies of five Arab countries hadn’t attacked when Israel, accepting the Partition, declared itself a state. That is a fact. Please stop the moralizing. There’s plenty of blame on all sides for this catastrophe.

  9. These days it’s hard to eat, drink, or turn on the heat without thinking of Palestinians starving, with no access to clean water, huddled under a salvaged tarp in the cold and rain. I no longer ignore a jet going over, thinking how a Gazan would be looking frantically for their children before the bombs we sent over there come raining down. Ceasefire now!

  10. I am a community sponsor of this ceasefire resolution. I write this comment as Israel is in the process of bombing and shelling Rafah, killing Palestinian civilians: men, women, and children, indiscriminately. Rafah was literally the last place where Gazans were told by the Israeli military that they could go to be safe, then they started bombing and attacking the city. My news feed is full of children, just as beautiful and human as my own two boys, covered in blood, injured, dying or dead. I see pictures of six year old girl Hind Rajab, who called for rescuers to save her from the assault, only to be found dead hours later along with those who came to rescue her. My heart is breaking and my mourning is profound, and I know that I am not alone. There is only one way to make it stop, and that is for President Biden and our government to use our power and influence with Israel to call for a ceasefire and to stop sending military aid and weapons to the Israeli government. Ending this war is the only possible first step to also getting the Israeli hostages back and to forge a lasting peace that provides safety and well being for all, Palestinians and Israelis.

    I don’t know how to feel about people on this comment thread twisting themselves into pretzels to justify the killing of innocent children – people I share a community with. As a mom, all of those children are my children. They are our children. If we can’t speak up for them, if we just refer to them as “human shields,” I don’t know what humanity we have left, and that makes me profoundly sad.

    If you are an Amherst resident, it’s not too late to join as a community sponsor to our resolution and I encourage you to do so. I also encourage you to show up at the February 26th meeting where this resolution will be discussed by the Town Council and give a public comment to support this resolution. It is extremely important. Our MA senators are failing us – they don’t answer their phones, only Warren has called for a ceasefire, and they are not bringing the necessary pressure to bear on the Biden administration to stop this war. Towns in MA passing these resolutions sends a message to them and IT MATTERS. Let’s all think of future generations and what we’ll tell them we did during a genocide. Let’s be good ancestors.

  11. I am a community sponsor of the Amherst Resolution because I want the people of Gaza and Israel to live. Calling for a ceasefire is not endorsing Hamas. It is asking that the killing stop, on both sides. That’s why my union, United Auto Workers, and my hometown, Chicago, passed similar ceasefire resolutions. The Amherst resolution proposes that our tax dollars not be spent bombing civilians. Each year, we have given Israel billions in military aid. All that money did not bring Israel peace or security. Yet the Senate now wants to rush $14.5 billion more. That money could go a long way towards resolving hunger or homelessness in our own country.
    The resolution does not recount all the history of the conflict or define how the region can achieve a lasting, stable peace, It merely calls for a cessation of bombing, and military conflict. We who support this resolution have a wide range of opinions on next steps after a ceasefire.. But we all believe it is urgent that no more innocent civilians are displaced, starved, deprived of hospitals, or denied the basic necessities of life. I regret that such a resolution makes people so angry but I could not live with myself if i did not stand up for every person’s right to live in peace. I hope that all sides will understand that we offer this resolution, not in anger, but out of respect and love for all.

    Brooks Ballenger

  12. One can cherry pick historical events and statistics at will. Does anyone on this topic truly, without doubt, refute the reports of Palestinian deaths, which yes include Hamas fighters, but mostly civilian men, women and children. Do you refute that at least half of the homes in Gaza are rubble? Do you refute that people are eating grass and drinking toilet water? Do you refute that people have been driven further and further away from their homes and are still not safe, not even for one minute? Does the refusal of Hamas to surrender make this all OK?

  13. I find some of this commentary painful and saddening. One can condemn both the Hamas atrocities of Oct 7, especially its violence against women, AND the ongoing and asymmetrical destruction of Gaza and Gazans by the Israeli military, and support a cease fire to end the madness and utter violence. To deeply engage with Israel-Palestine as a Diaspora Jew means attempting to reconcile conflicting, legitimate truths – narratives centering on historical trauma, identity and victimhood – and refuse to engage in binary thinking which argues “I am right and you are wrong.” To paraphrase the scholar Sara Roy, who once noted that Jewish memory, so important to our survival, has failed in modern times in a critical respect – to see that “finding our home meant the loss of theirs.” We need a different discourse, one that is willing to hear the pain and suffering of both peoples, without “what aboutism” and other efforts of self-justification which dehumanizes the “other.” This is what groups like Standing Together are Combatants for Peace are envisioning in their work, based on peace, equality, and justice.

  14. “Israeli babies who were murdered and mutilated are not of equal status to Gazan children who are killed while being used as human shields by Hamas.” I wish I could un-see that comment. The discussion of which children have higher “status” is … I can’t even come up with the words to describe how deeply disturbing that is. I’m with Amber Cano-Martin above: All children are my children. They are all OUR children.

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