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Saint Paul demands a ceasefire in Palestine

By Andrew Josefchak

Protest demands  passage of pro-Palestine resolution in St. Paul, Minnesota. | Fight Back! News/Kim DeFranco

Saint Paul, MN – 300 demonstrators led by the Twin Cities’ Free Palestine Coalition gathered outside Saint Paul City Hall on Tuesday, February 2 to demand that Saint Paul adopt a city council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Palestine and an end to U.S. aid to Israel.

Minneapolis city council has already put forward a strong resolution condemning Israel’s genocidal crimes in Palestine, thanks to political pressure exerted by the Free Palestine Coalition’s street actions. The Minneapolis resolution is up again on Thursday, February 8 to overturn a veto by the mayor.

Tuesday’s rally marked the beginning of the Free Palestine Coalition’s new push to get Saint Paul to pass a similar resolution. The action was initiated by Women Against Military Madness, a member group of the Free Palestine Coalition.

Several speakers at the event addressed the attacks on the ceasefire resolution floated by local media, which have centered on the claim that the genocide in Gaza is not a “local issue,” and not something that Saint Paul city council should take a position on.

Meredith Aby of the Minnesota Anti-War Committee stated, “We need 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. The U.S. federal government spends $4 billion a year on aid to Israel which is directly funding this war. The State of Minnesota has invested over $1 billion of public worker pensions in weapons manufacturers, Israeli companies and bonds which also sponsor this genocide. Think about what we could do with that money instead in regards to educating our kids, providing healthcare and housing to everyone.”

Aby went on to point out that Saint Paul recently paid the infamous weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin, which sells weapons to the Israeli Occupation Force, $1.3 million of public taxpayer money to open a new subsidiary, known as ForwardEdge ASIC, a new facility in Saint Paul. Aby again stated that Israel’s crimes in Palestine are a local issue because residents’ “tax dollars subsidized this genocide,” adding, “Lockheed makes the very weapons Israel is using to attack Gaza right now.”

Monique Cullers-Doty of Black Lives Matter Minnesota drew attention to the connection between U.S. support for genocide in Palestine and the U.S.’ own genocidal history. She said, “Genocide is very American. What the U.S. has allowed to happen to the Palestinian people is just another crime on top of the history of years and years of crimes against people of color.”

Cullers-Doty highlighted the attempts of U.S. settlers to totally exterminate indigenous Americans, the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, the “Black Codes” that stripped African-Americans of their civil and political rights, and modern mass incarceration as examples of the ways that the U.S. government has oppressed and attempted to outright exterminate people within the United States.

“It is local, and it is abroad, and America needs to stop acting American and change its ways,” continued Cullers-Doty, to cheers from the crowd. “We have to stand in solidarity, to support our Palestinian brothers, sisters and siblings, at home and abroad. Black Lives Matter, we stand in support, we want a free Palestine, we want Palestine repaired, we want America held accountable for its crimes at home and abroad.” She declared, “The Saint Paul city council needs to take action now to impact abroad, and to impact at home.”

A representative of American Muslims for Palestine-MN, closed the rally by describing what a strong ceasefire resolution in Saint Paul would need to contain, stating, “We are here to demand a ceasefire resolution, one that calls for justice, one that calls for an end to the siege, one that calls for an end to the occupation, one that calls for an end to the blockade, and which mentions the ICJ’s finding of genocide against the Palestinians by Israel. And, let them hear us, an end to U.S. aid to Israel, a complete end.”

The Free Palestine Coalition has called for Minnesotans to pack the room at the next Saint Paul city council meeting on Wednesday, February 7, at 2:45 p.m. at 15 Kellogg Boulevard, Saint Paul, to demand a strong resolution. Another action has been called for Thursday, February 8, 9:30 a.m. at 250 S 4th Street, Minneapolis, to pack the Minneapolis city council meeting where the council will be voting to overturn Mayor Jacob Frey's veto of the prior successful ceasefire resolution vote.

#StPaulMN #AntiWarMovement #MiddleEast #International #Palestine #AMP #MNAWC #FreePalestineCoalition