Letter: Aren’t We Tired of Death? Support the Resolution for a Permanent Ceasefire in Gaza


Rally in Toronto protesting the Israeli occuation of Gaza. Photo: humbleslave / Flckr.com

The following letter was sent to the Amherst Town Council on February 29, 2024.

My name is Hind Mari. I am a Palestinian American resident of District 3. I’ve lived with my husband in Amherst since 1987, where we raised two children who graduated from Amherst’s public school system. Amherst has been my home for my entire adult life. I have been involved in many events and activities in town, have served on town committees, and served as a member of Town Meeting for several years.

I am writing to you today to urge you to do the right thing and vote yes on the proposed Resolution in Support of a Ceasefire in Gaza.

Over the years, I have proudly watched Amherst take a stand on many social and political issues. We were one of the first towns to change Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day, the town stood against the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, and in 2022 passed a resolution to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

On October 16, 2023, the Amherst Town Council passed a unanimous resolution condemning Hamas for their attack on Israel on October 7. By the time this resolution passed, Israel had retaliated by already killing 2,800 Palestinians within the first week alone, including an average of 100 Palestinian children per day through their nonstop bombing campaign in Gaza. The Amherst resolution condemned Hamas’ actions unequivocally, yet failed to condemn Israel’s bombardment of Gaza despite stating in no uncertain terms:

“Whereas, we recognize the complex history and ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza and support equal measures of justice and freedom for Israelis and Palestinians alike;” 

It is important to mention that Gaza has been under a brutal blockade by Israel for 17 years prior to October 7. During this blockade, which limited humanitarian aid getting into Gaza, and has controlled electricity, water, and gas, Israel systematically bombed Gaza: for 23 days in 2008/9; for 8 days in 2012; for 50 days in 2014; and for 11 days in 2021. During the nonviolent 2018 March of Return protests, Israel killed 214 Palestinians (including 46 children) and injured more than 36,100 people, including 8,800 children.

Now, five months after the start of this genocide, we know that Israel has killed over 35,000 Palestinian civilians, 70% of whom are women and children, and injured about 70,000 other civilians, with many thousands more unaccounted for under the rubble. 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza have been displaced since October 7, 80% of whom were already refugees, including some who have now been displaced more than five times over within the last five months alone. 

We now know that over 17,000 children have lost both their parents. Currently, 130 children are dying each day due to direct bombing, starvation, cardiac arrest, and infectious disease. Many children have been maimed, while others have been injured and/or left without any family members – resulting in the coining of a new term “Wounded Child No Surviving Family (WCNSF).” 

Hundreds of entire families have been exterminated, without leaving a single surviving family member.

Israel has carried out one of the most vicious and indiscriminate military campaigns against civilians in modern history. They have destroyed almost all the hospitals in Gaza, 80% of residential homes and apartment complexes, schools, universities, shelters, mosques and churches (including some of the oldest in the world). They have intentionally targeted (by drones and snipers) healthcare workers, journalists, educators, artists, and other cultural icons. Israel has cut medical aid, food, water, electricity, and internet service — all war crimes according to international law. Not only is collective punishment prohibited internationally, but the current starvation tactics and blocking of humanitarian aid into Gaza alone deserve condemnation of the highest order.

Israel is only able to commit these atrocities due to the direct backing of the U.S. government and our tax dollars as citizens. The U.S. is giving unconditional aid to Israel, and by doing so during this genocide, the U.S. State Department is violating several Federal laws like The Export Control Law, The Foreign Assistance Act, The U.S. War Crimes Act, The Leahy Law, and The Genocide Convention Implementation Act. These laws prohibit sending weapons that could be used to commit crimes against humanity (including intentional attacks on civilian populations or objects) or genocide, which are considered as breaches to the 1949 Geneva Conventions. The money that is used to enable killing could instead support our schools, currently facing budget cuts, provide affordable housing to the most vulnerable among us, and provide healthcare coverage to U.S. citizens.

As a longtime Amherst resident, I would like to know that my hometown cherishes the lives of my people the same way it cherished the lives of the 1,200 Israelis this past October. I ask you: if the loss of 1,200 lives elicited your condemnation, shouldn’t the loss of over 35,000 lives elicit at least the same reaction?Is my life, and are the lives of Palestinians, not worth saving? I urge you to join many other municipalities around the country (and nations around the world) by demanding that Israel immediately stops committing these atrocities against innocent civilians.

The UN reports that if food aid is not permitted into Gaza, then half a million Palestinians living there will die from starvation. This week, the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza reported the death of six children at Gaza hospitals due to dehydration and malnutrition. A new report by John Hopkins University and the London School of Hygiene estimates that we could save 75,000 lives from death by disease were to be a ceasefire now. 

Aren’t we tired of death? Don’t we cherish human life? I am asking you to affirm life and vote yes on this resolution, as you vowed to do, in the October 16 Resolution.

Hind Mari

Hind Mari is a resident of Amherst’s District 3

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1 thought on “Letter: Aren’t We Tired of Death? Support the Resolution for a Permanent Ceasefire in Gaza

  1. I agree! I don’t understand why the US government isn’t acting. The killing and starvation are in front of us for all to see. It is horrific! Israel is a friend and ally of the US but when your friend is committing genocide you don’t look away. And our town shouldn’t either.

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