© 2024 KZYX
redwood forest background
Mendocino County Public Broadcasting
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Local News

Fort Bragg City Council approves cease-fire resolution

The Fort Bragg City seal features a leaping salmon against a backdrop of a redwood tree and the horizon line of the ocean.
The Fort Bragg city seal.

The Fort Bragg City Council voted unanimously at its February 26 meeting to approve a resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza, after about twenty people spoke in favor of it.

Abraham Cohen, of a group called SURJ, or Showing up for Racial Justice, opened by reading the document. It also condemns the October 7 Hamas attack on Israeli civilians and calls for the release of all hostages and the unrestricted entry of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

“I really urge you all to please adopt this resolution,” he concluded. “It's going to be important as we all grow older to be able to look back and know that we spoke up on the right side of history here….We certainly would want the same voice raised in our best interest, given such a nightmare circumstance for us.”

On January 26, the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to take “immediate and effective measures” to protect Palestinian civilians from the risk of genocide. Exactly one month later, on the day of the Fort Bragg resolution, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International issued notices saying that Israel is not complying with the order, “to take immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian aid” to the people of Gaza. Later that day, the Times of Israel reported that authorities had submitted a report to the court about what it’s doing to comply with the order. The report won’t be available to the public or the press. Israel blames Hamas for stockpiling aid supplies and keeping them from starving civilians.

Lemma Nasser told the council she’s a Palestinian American who recently moved to Fort Bragg. She thanked the speakers for showing up to fill the chambers, and testified that, “Estimates are that 30,000 human beings have been killed by Israeli military forces. Half of these, fifteen thousand, are children. This is not okay. Because of Israel's blockade of humanitarian aid, half a million human beings are facing starvation, and 2.3 million are facing acute food shortages. This is not okay. The United States government supplies Israel with billions of dollars in aid in state of the art weapons, which are being used to target civilian infrastructure, including crowded hospitals and refugee camps. This is not okay.”

Human Rights Watch accuses Israel of using starvation as a weapon of war. Daphne Martin told the council she was moved to speak after hearing about a two-month-old Palestinian infant who starved to death, “which means that if his mother was still alive, she did not get enough food and water to produce milk to nurse her son,” she told the council. “If she was dead, or she could not produce milk, there was no formula getting in because of the blockade to feed these babies.”

Wes Lacount was among the speakers who invoked Aaron Bushnell, the 25-year-old US airman who burned himself to death outside the Israeli embassy in Washington on Sunday, while shouting, “Free Palestine.”

“I wanted to read a quote, the last thing that Aaron Bushnell posted on his Facebook,” Lacount began. “He said, ‘Many of us like to ask ourselves: What would I do if I was alive during slavery or the Jim Crow South or apartheid? What would I do if my country was committing genocide? The answer is you're doing it right now. ‘“

Gabriel Quinn Maroni was the lone voice against the resolution — because he didn’t think it would be effective.

“It's good to see a bunch of people coming out in the name of peace,” he opined. “But the fact of the matter is that NATO and America have been bombing the hell out of the world for quite some time. In many different areas. And the people that wield the military industrial complex think there's too many humans in the world. And they make far too much money dropping bombs…They don't care what you say and they don't care if you pass this resolution. So I actually prefer that you don't pass it because then you don't think you're doing some token thing to actually change the world. But if you do want to reckon with the fact of where our society is at this time, you would move like a hungry tiger or maybe even a dragon to create a powerful economy here. So that we do have a say. And bring in the politicians and talk to them much more. And talk to who you need to talk to and create a Renaissance that really changes the world. That's truthfully what we have to do…So this is nice, and I'm sorry for saying what I'm saying, but I think that it's such a bigger problem that we actually do have to address. So thank you for your bravery.”

Anna Marie Stenberg countered that the right place to start with political involvement is local. “You speak for us,” she told the council. “And then you take that and you send it to our state representatives. And they send it on…None of us can go to Washington DC and talk to the president and protest there and say what we want and what we don't want. We do it here.”

Council member Lindy Peters reminded everyone that in 2016, the Fort Bragg City Council decided not to work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to prosecute people solely for violating federal immigration laws.

“The reason we haven't taken any action on all that great public testimony we just heard is because it appears on what's called the consent calendar,” he informed the speakers, as the meeting moved into reports from staff and council members. “And those are items that this council has shown agreement on. So you should all feel pretty good, knowing that if it's on the consent calendar, we're supporting it…And just as many of you fine speakers said tonight, we represent you. We are your voice. He predicted accurately that, “We're going to get to the consent calendar here in just a minute, and it’s going to pass.”

Local News
Sarah Reith came to Mendocino County in 2008 and worked as a reporter and freelancer, joining KZYX as a community news reporter in 2017. She became the KZYX News Director in March, 2023.