Four months and tens of thousands of deaths after the latest conflict between Israel and Hamas broke out on Oct. 7, no clear end to the violence is in sight.
Durango City Council members did not publicly respond to pleas from residents and members of the Durango Palestine Solidarity Coalition on Tuesday to pass a symbolic resolution calling for a ceasefire, but members of the solidarity group remain undeterred.
Durango Palestine Solidarity Coalition member Gina Jannone, who submitted the resolution in question by email to the city for council consideration last month, said in an email to The Durango Herald on Friday that the group will continue to pressure City Council to take action.
“We knew going in that the council and some Durango community members feel this isn’t an issue for city council, that it is only a global issue,” she said.
Those advocating for a ceasefire denounced the United States’ continued support of Israeli military efforts in Gaza, called out Israeli settlements widely recognized around the world as illegal under international law and argued the conflict is just as much the people of Durango’s problem as it is the federal government’s and the people of Gaza’s.
About eight people spoke at the City Council meeting. They explicitly condemned hate speech, including antisemitic hate speech, which was on full display for part of a January City Council meeting when rogue Zoom users crashed a public participation segment of the meeting.
The speakers also expressly said Islamophobic, anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab and xenophobic rhetoric is intolerable.
Durango resident Michael Fadil said he and his family are Palestinian. His father was born in Haifa, Palestine, and left at age 12 with his family in 1948.
Fadil said the Jan. 16 City Council meeting incident is evidence antisemitism still exists in Durango, the country and the world.
He said the disingenuous conflation of antisemitism with criticism of Israel and anti-Zionism is itself causing more antisemitic rhetoric and violence.
“While most people who truly care about peace in this region understand the nuances between Judaism and Zionism, there’s still many who conflate the two,” he said. “... Ironically and sadly, the increased antisemitism is exactly what happens when Zionists conflate criticism of Israel with antisemitism.”
Durango resident Zachary Lawrence said he and his family are Ashkenazi Jews who celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah, his grandmother was the sole survivor of her family in the Holocaust, and he too wants City Council to adopt a ceasefire resolution in solidarity with Palestine.
“I know that council is not perhaps necessarily involved in global issues. But this is very much a humanitarian issue and a human issue,” he said. “It does affect our mental state.”
Fadil and Lawrence both said a symbolic ceasefire resolution would be meaningful.
The Associated Press reported on Friday that Israel’s campaign has killed 27,947 Palestinians, wounded more than 67,000 and “driven most people from their homes and pushed a quarter of the population toward starvation, according to the U.N.”
The Israel-Hamas war started on Oct. 7 after Hamas, a Palestinian militant group, launched a siege into Israeli towns and villages, killing about 1,200 people and taking 250 more hostage.