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This article was submitted on behalf of several people. Their names and affiliations are listed below.


Last week, Durham, N.C., became the 71st city in the U.S. to pass a cease-fire resolution. Polls across the country show that 61% of Americans support a cease-fire in Gaza. In St. Paul, constituents who have consistently requested a cease-fire public hearing packed the City Council's meeting on Wednesday. However, Council President Mitra Jalali made it clear that regardless of constituents' opinions, the council would neither allow a public hearing nor propose a cease-fire resolution.

Rather than funding a genocide and being complicit in the killing and maiming of Palestinians, St. Paul needs to invest resources in its residents. Numerous homeless shelters in the city have been closed in just the last few years, even as the Minnesota Department of Housing and Urban Development has reported an increase in homelessness. Nearly half of Minnesota's homeless population are people with children, and about 64% of homeless people in Minnesota are people of color. In 2022, St. Paul's poverty level was 39.3% higher than the entire state of Minnesota. As residents and community members of St. Paul, we believe that our city's resources and the money that is earned locally should be invested in ending homelessness and poverty, and not spent on killing Palestinians in Gaza.

The City Council's claim that the cease-fire in Gaza is not a local issue is far from the truth.

Companies like Lockheed Martin that operate locally in St. Paul build weapons for the state of Israel and/or have financial ties with the Israeli apartheid state. The Minnesota State Board of Investment has invested $3.25 billion in public employees' pensions and retirement funds in Israeli apartheid.

Since Oct. 7, 2023, the Israeli military has used Hamas' attack as an excuse to kill more than 29,000 Palestinian civilians — 40% of whom are children. More than 69,000 people have been injured and 1.9 million Palestinians have been displaced. Israel has destroyed more than 70% of all infrastructure in Gaza, leaving almost no functioning hospitals. Humanitarian operations are nearly impossible and famine has forced Palestinians to eat animal feed.

Dropping over 65,000 tons of explosives on Gaza just in the first 89 days, Israel forced many Palestinians to seek refuge in the south, but is now bombing Rafah, a small southern city that is hosting 1.2 million internal refugees in addition to its population of 250,000. According to the United Nations, "No other armed conflict in the twenty-first century has experienced such a devastating impact on a population in such a short timeframe."

The U.S. has a responsibility under the Genocide Convention to prevent genocide. But to act at the federal level, U.S. cities must call for a cease-fire and an end to military and financial support for the Israeli genocide in Gaza. Personal statements in support of the cease-fire are not enough. Council members have a responsibility to represent their constituents and not put profit and self-interest before the people who have elected them.

The City Council members' refusal to endorse a cease-fire fuels the rise in hate crimes against Middle Eastern, Jewish and Muslim communities. Palestinian residents of Twin Cities, who are among 7 million displaced Palestinians pushed out of their land because of the Israeli settler colonial violence since 1948, have lost multiple family members in the past 137 days. Jewish residents of the Twin Cities who support a cease-fire vehemently oppose the appropriation of the Holocaust to justify the Israeli state's apartheid, genocide and ethnic cleansing in Palestine. To assume that all Jews unequivocally support Israel is antisemitic.

Rather than repeating the genocidal settler colonial policies of onetime St. Paul Mayor Alexander Ramsey, we expect that a majority women-of-color council recognize the connections between the dispossession and massacre of Dakota people since the 1860s and that of Palestinians since 1948.

As BIPOC people, Palestinian Americans, Jewish Americans, women, queer and nonbinary/trans people, Muslims, immigrants, parents, workers, disabled people, students, union members, educators, and members of the Minnesota Free Palestine Coalition, we emphasize that a cease-fire in Palestine is a local issue. It is time that St. Paul City Council members stand on the right side of history by passing a cease-fire resolution and ending all financial and military support to the state of Israel.

Those signing this article include Sima Shakhsari, St. Paul, Faculty, Librarians, Alumni, Graduate Students, and Staff for Justice in Palestine (FLAGS-JP); Ali Al-Hinaani, St. Paul, American Muslims for Palestine, Minnesota; Donia Abu-Ammo, University of Minnesota Students for Justice in Palestine; Elizabeth McLister, St. Paul, Minnesota Families for Palestine; Kim DeFranco, St. Paul, Women Against Military Madness; Kaden Bieger, St. Paul, Jewish Voice for Peace; Fatima Tufail, St. Paul, FLAGS-JP; Omari Hoover, Party for Socialism and Liberation; Asma Nizami, Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment; Noah Schumacher, Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar Clark; Sadie Rubin, Jewish Voice for Peace and Minnesota Families for Palestine; Celeste Robinson, Jewish Voice for Peace; Gillian Rath, University of Minnesota Students for a Democratic Society, and Anthony Taylor-Gouge, Minnesota Workers United.