State College Borough Council withdraws resolution calling for permanent ceasefire in Gaza
State College Borough Council is no longer considering a resolution calling for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.
Council held a special meeting Monday night to discuss a second draft of the resolution brought by Gopal Balachandran. The new draft did not include the phrase “war crime” or directly accuse Hamas or Israel of violating international law.
Even then, several speakers spoke against the resolution, with some saying it created a divide in the community. Others did speak in support of the resolution, saying the borough should take a stand to protect human rights and prevent more deaths.
Mayor Ezra Nanes, who has no vote except to veto ordinances, said the conflict is too complex to make a broad resolution on.
“When Council chooses to speak as a body, we represent all members of the community. And what we are doing tonight now is talking about something that clearly does not represent the views of all members of this community. Not only that, but it does not uphold our first tenant which is to ensure the safety of all members of our community,” Nanes said.
Council member Peter Marshall questioned if the resolution would have any impact on the conflict in Israel and Palestine.
“I don't think that we need to pass this resolution. I think individually, we can speak. We can say what we think, but as a board, as a council… I don't think this is helpful,” Marshall said.
Balachandran, who voted against withdrawing the resolution, pointed out the community members who spoke in support of the resolution.
“I am particularly moved by the story of the woman from Palestine who was talking about her seven children being stuck in Gaza right now. And I worry about their security and future as well as the safety and security of all of those,” Balachandran said.
Nalini Krishnankutty is the only other council member who rejected the motion to withdraw the ceasefire resolution. She said the conflict in Israel and Palestine is personal to some community members.
“For us to say, you know, does this have local impact or not? We know that it does. We heard from our professors who were online last time, who talked about their students facing Islamophobia, anti semitism - there are national statistics that show both are on the rise,” Krishnankutty said.
She also noted a nationwide and global trend of cities and organizations calling for a ceasefire.
“I just feel that power in standing up when civilians are being killed and children are being killed. I'm just saying this to all my fellow council members, if not now, when?” Krishnankutty asked.
City council in Oakland, Ca. passed a resolution calling for a ceasefire last week.