Somerville, Cambridge city councils pass first resolutions calling for Gaza ceasefire in Massachusetts

Feb 1, 2024 | Cambridge, Chapter Updates

Over the past week, Somerville and Cambridge became the first two cities in Massachusetts to pass ceasefire resolutions calling for Israel to cease its military operations in the Gaza Strip.

Somerville voted to pass their resolution on Thursday, January 25. The final resolution passed 9-2, with two of the YES votes being DSA-members and endorsees Willie Burnley Jr. and J.T. Scott.

The core of the resolution states that the “Somerville City Council supports an enduring ceasefire and/or any means to support long-lasting peace, the provision of life-saving humanitarian aid in Gaza, and the release of all hostages.”

In his remarks advocating for a YES vote on the resolution, DSA member and endorsee Councilor Willie Burnley Jr. said, “I want to offer my gratitude to the neighbors, friends, and City staff whom I have seen rallying in the streets in the hope that their government will act to end the recent atrocities committed against the Palestinian people.. The United States sends more than $3 billion in military aid to Israel every year using our tax dollars. Likewise, the impact of these decisions reverberate throughout our community.. We have a duty to listen to our constituents, to demand that our elected leaders put pressure on President Biden, and to end this genocide before it is too late!”

Likewise, on Monday, January 29, the Cambridge City Council unanimously passed a ceasefire resolution, 9-0. The resolution, which had previously failed to pass in November, establishes the Council’s, “support for an immediate, negotiated ceasefire by both Hamas and Netanyahu Administration,” urges the “release of all hostages,” and calls for “the urgent implementation of humanitarian aid.” One of the councilors who introduced the resolution was DSA-member and endorsee Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler.

“I’m just so proud of everyone who rallied and wrote in and testified to make this happen,” said Jesse Baer, a member of DSA and If Not Now, and lifelong Cambridge resident. “I’m pretty sure most of the councilors would have preferred to duck this a second time, but the way people from so many communities turned out— students, workers, Jews and Muslims — they knew that wasn’t an option.”

Boston DSA thanks the tireless work of the newly formed “Somerville for Palestine” and “Cambridge for Palestine” groups, that helped turn out hundreds of residents in support of these two resolutions. The resolutions come at a time where Israel is facing mounting international pressure and condemnation for its conduct in the Gaza Strip. According to Amnesty International:

  • More than 25,000 Palestinians have been killed, 70% of whom are women and children. 62,000 people are reported injured. The number of dead itself is a rough estimate, as there many bodies hidden under the rubble of the destroyed buildings in Gaza unaccounted for.
  • 85% of Gaza’s population—1.9 million—have been forcibly displaced due to Israel’s bombardment campaign.
  • Approximately 500,000 Palestinians in Gaza face starvation, while 90% of the population faces food insecurity.
  • 167 aid workers have been killed and there are no remaining “fully operational” medical facilities in Gaza.

The resolutions also come on the heels of a landmark juridical decision at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). On January 26, the ICJ issued a set of provisional measures, which ordered the State of Israel to, “take all measures within its power” to prevent genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza.

Both municipalities are to send their respective resolutions to their Federal representatives in the House and Senate. Boston DSA will work alongside Somerville for Palestine, Cambridge for Palestine, and other community organizers — in cities like Medford — in continuing to call on Senators Markey and Warren and Representative Clark to join the call for a ceasefire.

DSA welcomes these municipal developments and will continue to work with community organizations, City Councilors, and the citizens of Greater Boston to achieve a long-lasting peace in Gaza.