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Minneapolis demands city council vote yes on upcoming Palestine resolution

By Yossi Aharoni

Minneapolis protest demands end to siege on Gaza. | Fight Back! News/Lacey Woida

Minneapolis, MN – Amidst a frigid Saturday afternoon on January 20, over 750 Twin Cities pro-Palestine residents came out in the blistering cold to the Hennepin County Government Center to tell the Minneapolis City Council that their constituents demand they vote yes on a ceasefire resolution.

This week, on January 23 and 25, the Minneapolis City Council will be discussing and voting on a resolution that demands an immediate ceasefire of Israeli aggression against the civilians in Gaza.

In the last 105 days, over 25,000 people have been killed by Israel, the vast majority civilians, of which 10,000 have been children, and it is believed there are over 7000 people still trapped under rubble unable to be excavated and presumed dead.

The upcoming resolution also demands that the U.S. end its arming and funding of Israel. The funding averages around $4 billion every year, and the vast majority of military weaponry is being used against the civilians in Gaza.

The Anti-War Committee, American Muslims for Palestine, the Council on American Islamic Relations and Jewish Voice for Peace have called on their supporters to call and email their council members. Despite this, some city council members are still on the fence; one council member even publicly stated that passing such a resolution should not be a priority when there are more local issues that need to be addressed.

The Free Palestine Coalition initiated the protest to send a message of support for the resolution going into the vote next week. Sana Wazwaz from American Muslims for Palestine, Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg from Jewish Voice for Peace, Memo Perez from Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee, Natalie Rath from Students for a Democratic Society at the U of MN, President Max Vast from AFSCME 3800, and Osman Ahmed from the Council on American Islamic Relations all spoke at the rally to address to how different communities in Minneapolis all want the city council to vote for the ceasefire resolution.

Kelly Thomas, of Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar Clark, spoke to the importance of the Palestinian cause to the Black lives matter movement, “Some city council members have been recorded saying that we should focus on local issues that we can control. This is a local issue, and this strong resolution is exactly how we can stop our tax dollars from bombing Gaza. But they want us to sit down and be silent. We will never be silent, and we will not look away. These are some of the same city council members who promised the nation that they would defund the police after Geroge Floyd was murdered, just to vote for increased police budgets, while pointing the fingers at their constituents. And how many more Black, brown and indigenous people have been murdered by the police since then? We say no more. Ceasefire now! No more U.S. aid to Israel. No more of our tax dollars funding genocide.”

Meredith Aby of the MN Anti-War Committee closed the rally with, “Every day that passes without a ceasefire, Israel murders 160 children. That's one child every nine minutes. We are over 100 days into the genocide and the death toll keeps rising. Minneapolis needs to join cities like Atlanta, Seattle, Detroit, San Francisco, Oakland and even Hastings in passing a ceasefire resolution.

“We, the people of Minneapolis, want this passed. The attacks on Palestine are a local issue when the U.S. and the state of Minnesota are funding these massacres. We have the right – I would argue the responsibility – to demand that our tax dollars not be spent killing Palestinians. This is a local issue because our city includes Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims for whom it’s very personal and very real. People in Minneapolis are concerned about their families. To think this is a ‘foreign’ issue is to ignore the diversity of Minneapolis.

“Passing this ceasefire resolution would be a historic win for our movement. Our resolution, if passed, would be the first one in the country to say that the U.S. should end aid to Israel. While other cities have taken a stand against the violence, they haven’t addressed the role the U.S. is playing in sponsoring this genocide.

“If Minneapolis passes this resolution, we can take it to Saint Paul and to other cities. If Minneapolis passes this resolution, the Biden administration will have to acknowledge that they are losing their base because they are supporting genocide. If Minneapolis passes this resolution, we continue our work to stand up for justice!”

The rally was initiated by the Free Palestine Coalition, a grassroots coalition comprised of over 15 local organizations who fight for social justice, anti-war, climate justice and human rights causes.

#MinneapolisMN #AntiWarMovement #International #Palestine #MNAWC #AMP #CityCouncil #CAIR #JVP #SDS #TCC4J