State College council discusses resolution calling for ceasefire in Gaza
The State College Borough Council decided not to vote on a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza during Monday's meeting. Community members disagreed about whether the borough should get involved in international affairs.
Council member Gopal Balachandran introduced the original resolution calling for a ceasefire. That resolution said both Hamas and Israel were guilty of war crimes. It also said the conflict has resulted in a spike of antisemitism, Islamophobia and racism throughout the United States and in the community.
Balachandran rescinded that resolution, saying it was a draft and he did not want to cause harm. But he did want to open the floor to community members to get their input for a second draft.
David Werner, a Ferguson Township resident, rejected the resolution’s claim that Israel is guilty of war crimes.
“There is no moral equivalency here. Israel is fighting an existential fight for its own survival," Werner said.
Werner questioned why the borough did not get involved in other world conflicts. He also said the council does not understand the history behind the conflict.
Other speakers asked why State College would pass a resolution on a conflict overseas.
Ayah Rub, a Palestinian student at Penn State, supported the resolution. She said the situation in Gaza is a violation of basic human dignity. She noted reports that pregnant women are being forced to have C-sections without anesthesia while hospitals shake and doctors use their phones as flashlights because they don’t have electricity.
“These devastating realities highlight the urgent need for a ceasefire and statement for resolution," Rub said.
Borough council members voted to discuss a possible resolution at a future meeting, but did not specify when.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pushed back against international calls for a ceasefire, saying a ceasefire would only be possible if all hostages in Gaza are released.
U. S. President Joe Biden has also resisted calls for a ceasefire, instead saying there should be pauses in the fighting for humanitarian assistance and hostage rescues.