This tiny Arizona city becomes first to pass Gaza ceasefire resolution

By Alisa Reznick
Published: Thursday, March 7, 2024 - 6:48am
Updated: Friday, April 5, 2024 - 5:30pm

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The city of South Tucson has passed a resolution calling for a ceasefire and de-escalation in Gaza — where Israeli airstrikes are ongoing in response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in which some 1,200 people were killed and more than 200 were taken as hostages.

South Tucson is an autonomous 1.2-square-mile city with about 5,000 residents that's completely surrounded by the city of Tucson. Now, it’s the first city in Arizona to pass a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. 

Mohyeddin Abdulaziz with the Arizona Palestine Solidarity Alliance — the group behind the resolution — says South Tucson City Councilman Brian Flagg approached him a few weeks back.

"He’s very concerned about what’s going on in Gaza and Palestine and the community around him are really very supportive of the call for a ceasefire," he said.

Flagg says he sees passing the resolution as a way to confront the rising death toll in Gaza and U.S. military support for Israel, but he says the vote also has "everything to do with the city of South Tucson." 

"Because we have the lowest paid cops in the state, we're struggling to ... have a fully-functioning fire department, we have an acute lack of housing, an acute lack of treatment for people that are drug addicted, among a bunch of other needs,” he said. “We feel that a real inordinate amount of resources, locally and nationally, are going into war contractors such as Raytheon, which is the biggest private employer in the Tucson region. We feel like we need to scream out because we're hurting financially, and the resources are there, they're just going towards places like killing people in Palestine.”

The resolution passed during a packed South Tucson City Council session Tuesday evening, with five "yes" votes from City Council members. South Tucson Mayor Paul Diaz and Acting Mayor Rita Rogers abstained from voting. The move comes amid the Biden administration's own call for an immediate, temporary ceasefire, and as Gaza health officials report more than 30,000 people have been killed in Israeli airstrikes. Almost 2 million have been displaced, according to U.N. estimates. /p>

Abdulaziz says his group has been meeting with Tucson's councilmembers over the same ceasefire resolution passed by South Tucson for the last several weeks. Similar efforts are underway in other Arizona cities, including Yuma and Flagstaff, but no other city council has put anything to a vote yet.

The Arizona House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution supporting Israel in January without the support of some Democratic state legislators, who instead signed onto a letter to President Joe Biden calling for a ceasefire. 

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