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Minnesota: Columbia Heights considers Palestine ceasefire resolution

By Laura Dorle

Packed room of Palestine supporters at Columbia Heights city council meeting

Columbia Heights, MN – On February 12, the Columbia Heights city council heard public testimony for a resolution calling for immediate ceasefire in Gaza, as well as ending U.S. aid to Israel. The Twin Cities-based Free Palestine Coalition organized community members to pack the council chamber in support of the draft resolution.

The Columbia Heights resolution comes on the heels of Minneapolis city council’s passage of a similar resolution, touted as the most progressive in the country. That resolution faced a veto from Mayor Jacob Frey, which was overturned on February 8 by the council supermajority.

If passed, Columbia Heights would join Minneapolis in a wave of U.S. cities now calling not only for a ceasefire in Gaza, but for ending military aid to Israel. Like the Minneapolis resolution, the Columbia Heights draft characterizes Israel’s campaign in Gaza as genocidal, citing the Genocide Convention case brought by South Africa to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). On January 26, the ICJ ruled that there was plausible evidence of Israel committing genocide against Palestinians.

The Columbia Heights draft goes beyond the Minneapolis resolution, calling for an end to Israeli apartheid and Israel’s occupation and blockade of Palestinian land.

Taher Herzallah, a Columbia Heights resident and leader in American Muslims for Palestine spoke at the city council meeting. He explained the significance of the turnout, “Tonight was a historic night in Columbia Heights as we gathered to discuss the ceasefire resolution. It was incredible to see a diverse group of residents and neighbors come together unequivocally condemning the barbaric Israeli genocide in Gaza and demanding that their elected officials take a principled stand against it. The unity and passion of the community gives me strength as a Gazan to continue these efforts to shed light on my people's suffering on a local level.”

Donia Abu Ammo, Columbia Heights resident and student leader in Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of MN agreed, “It was inspiring and powerful to witness so many community members attend the council meeting to discuss the ceasefire resolution brought by Columbia Heights residents. I hope I can proudly say that my city stood on the right side of history and voted to end the genocide occurring in Palestine. The resolution's language is of the strongest and most assertive language in any resolution, and if approved, it will serve as an incredible stance against Zionism, and will set a significant precedent for other cities and states.”

The Free Palestine Coalition is also campaigning for Saint Paul to pass a ceasefire resolution. Over 70 U.S. cities have passed ceasefire resolutions, including Minneapolis, Hastings, Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, Saint Louis and others.

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