On Tuesday (Nov. 21), Detroit City Council members took a stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict. Seven out of nine council members voted to pass a ceasefire resolution, making Detroit the largest U.S. city to do so.
District 6 Councilwoman Gabriela Santiago-Romero sponsored the ceasefire resolution, per The Detroit News.
“Today, City Council passed a resolution that centers on humanity,” Councilwoman Santiago-Romero said. “Detroiters spoke loud and clear: we demand a ceasefire in Gaza to allow for the release of hostages and unconditional passage of critical humanitarian aid, and we demand diplomacy.”
The resolution reportedly says Gaza has endured “collective punishment” while being “largely cut off from humanitarian aid.” It adds that no human should be without water, food, health care, electricity, and medical supplies.
“The current war between Israel and Hamas marks the most significant escalation in decades, and continued escalation could result in a larger regional conflict with devastating consequences,” per the resolution. “The Detroit City Council believes all sovereign nations in pursuit of self-defense must comply with international humanitarian law regardless of geographic context.”
In their ceasefire resolution, the City Council hopes for an “immediate, durable, and sustained ceasefire to protect and save human lives” along with the “unconditional release of all civilians being illegally held hostage.”
How Detroit’s Ceasefire Resolution May Impact The Presidential Election
As previously reported, the United States designated Hamas a terrorist organization in 1997. President Biden has received mixed reactions over his handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict, which has included calling for a “pause” but not explicitly a “ceasefire.”
Now, Democrats in Michigan have warned the White House that President Joe Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict could cost him enough support within the Arab American community to sway the outcome of the 2024 election. AP reports that Michigan is a state Biden “can’t afford to lose in his bid for reelection.”
“The message has been relayed. We’ve had calls with the White House. We’ve had calls with DNC officials,” said Abraham Aiyash, the third-ranking Democrat in the state House of Representatives, referring to the Democratic National Committee. “We’ve been clear in saying the humanity should matter, but if that is not a calculation that you’re going to make in this moment, recognize that there will be electoral reverberations to this.”
In 2020, Muslim voters nationally supported Biden over Trump 64% to 35%, according to AP VoteCast.
Aiyash, the Democratic floor leader in the state House, said Arab American leaders who have spoken to the White House “are worried” about the implications for 2024 and have relayed those concerns to Biden. Other prominent Michigan Democrats have shared similar concerns.
Israel And Hamas Militants Reportedly Agree To A Temporary Truce
Detroit’s ceasefire resolution comes amid Israel and Hamas militants agreeing to a temporary truce and release of the hostages and prisoners. Qatar, a country in the Middle East, made the announcement on Wednesday, per AP.
The outlet reports that the truce banks on the release of Israelite hostages captured by Hamas and Palestinians imprisoned in Israel. The temporary halt in fighting will reportedly last four days. Qatar’s Foreign Ministry will reportedly announce when the clock on the truce will begin. Israel’s Cabinet has reportedly approved the deal negotiated by Qatar.
Both sides will reportedly free women and children. Hamas has reportedly agreed to release 50 hostages in stages, and in return, Israel will release 150 Palestinian prisoners.
“The government of Israel is committed to bringing all of the hostages home. Tonight, the government approved the outline for the first stage of achieving this goal,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Office said in a statement.
This marks the first ceasefire resolution between the Israeli government and Hamas residing in Palestine (Gaza Strip). For the last six weeks since Oct. 7, thousands of civilian lives in Palestine and Israel have been lost to war-related violence.
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The Hill reports that the recent conflict — which has been ongoing since the late 19th century and early 20th century — was ignited by a Hamas-led attack. The militant group reportedly killed more than 1,400 Israelites and took over 240 hostages. In response, the Israelite government has been dropping bombs by land, air, and sea on the Gaza Strip in an effort to retrieve hostages and “destroy” Hamas.
After the four days of the truce expires, Israel plans to resume the war against Hamas.
“We are at war, and we will continue the war,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said before the Cabinet voted on the truce. “We will continue until we achieve all our goals.”
The truce will also allow for increased humanitarian aid to Gaza, which the World Health Organization previously said was critical.
According to NPR, at the top of November, the WHO revealed that an average of 160 children are dying in Gaza every day amid the conflict.
Associated Press writers Josef Federman, Jack Jeffery, and Joey Cappelletti contributed to this report in addition to TSR Staff.