RICHMOND, Calif. (KRON) — The Richmond City Council passed a resolution affirming the city’s support against the ongoing war between the state of Israel and Hamas in the Middle East. Richmond is reportedly the first city in the United States to make such a proclamation.
The resolution was passed after five and a half hours of passionate and sometimes contentious public comments.
Richmond Mayor Eduardo Martinez kicked off a nearly six-hour discussion Tuesday night over a proposed resolution for the city council to affirm the city’s support and solidarity with the Palestinian people of Gaza. There was also a moment of silence honoring civilian Israeli and Palestinian lives lost in the war.
Mayor Martinez along with Vice Mayor Gayle Mclaughlin brought the resolution to the council.
“The people of the United States, whose government and tax dollars directly support Israel’s military, have an immediate moral obligation to condemn Israel’s acts or collective punishment in an apartheid state,” the mayor said.
Dozens of current and former residents from both sides of the conflict were given one minute to share their stance on the proposed pledge.
“Thank you for being the voice of voiceless and powerless children of Palestine,” said one Gaza supporter.
“People got to remember something, it was Hamas that started this in the first place and Israel is gonna clean house. They don’t care how many people they’re gonna have to kill. The bottom line is Hamas is gonna have to go,” said a supporter of Israel.
The original resolution was amended to include a denunciation of the killing of thousands of Israelis in the conflict. It also calls for an immediate ceasefire, the release of all Israeli hostages taken by Hamas and an end to all existing and future U.S. military aid to Israel.
“This is an urgent time — a critical time. A time in history where we need to speak out,” said Vice Mayor Mclaughlin.
“I’m proud to live in a city that stands up and says, ‘No more. Not in our name. The violence must stop,'” said another Gaza supporter.
Still, the resolution remains divisive.
“It’s not a Hamas issue — it’s an occupation and we’ve had enough of that occupation,” said a Gaza supporter.
“Hamas’ goal is to kill every Jew. That’s in their charter,” said an Israel supporter. “My hope is that we have a two-state solution, and we hope we live in peace. But that is not possible while Hamas exists.”
Eventually, the resolution passed by a vote of 5-1 Councilmember Cesar Zepeda was the lone dissenting vote. The Jewish Community Relations Council Bay Area commended Zepeda for being, “our sole Jewish ally on the council,” while also condemning what it calls a biased and inflammatory resolution.