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San Francisco supervisors will take up resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza

By JANIE HAR
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Supervisors in politically liberal San Francisco will vote on a resolution Tuesday calling for a sustained cease-fire in Gaza, although its final wording is uncertain given proposed amendments that reflect historic tensions in the Middle East.

The resolution to be voted on by the Board of Supervisors has no legal authority, and is among dozens that have been considered by local U.S. officials despite their irrelevance in international affairs as the Israel-Hamas war enters its fourth month following a deadly Oct. 7 attack by Hamas militants.

The draft resolution introduced in December by Supervisor Dean Preston, who is Jewish, calls for humanitarian aid, the release of all hostages and condemnation of “antisemitic, anti-Palestinian, Islamophobic, and all xenophobic rhetoric and attacks.”

Preston rejected amendments by another supervisor, Matt Dorsey, who wants the resolution to include more explicit condemnation of the attack by Hamas. Dorsey proposed the amendments at the board’s rules committee Monday, which included nearly five hours of impassioned comment from cease-fire supporters who rejected the proposed additions as extremist and racist.

Supervisor Ahsha Safaí said at the end of Monday’s hearing that the conversation has changed from whether the board should approve a cease-fire resolution to what that resolution will look like.

Calls for a cease-fire have swamped the country since pro-Palestinian, Jewish peace and other activist groups have blocked bridges, shut down highways, staged die-ins and earlier this month, forced California’s state Assembly to adjourn moments after convening.

Oakland, which is another politically liberal city in the San Francisco Bay Area, unanimously approved a permanent cease-fire resolution in November after rejecting an amendment that would have added an explicit condemnation of Hamas.

But the Burlington City Council in Vermont last month rejected a cease-fire resolution and the city of Berkeley in California has declined to consider one, with Mayor Jesse Arreguín saying in a statement that such resolutions “fan the flames of hatred” at home while doing nothing to resolve the violence abroad. Both are politically liberal cities.

As has been the case at other public hearings, comment at Monday’s crowded rules committee was impassioned and lengthy. Cease-fire supporters called the resolution a common-sense stand against genocide and a declaration of the value of Palestinian lives.

Manal Elkarra, a San Francisco physician who is Palestinian American, said before Monday’s hearing that nearly 100 extended family members have been killed in Gaza and the rest have nothing, their homes destroyed.

“There’s no clean water. There’s no access to food. There’s no access to fuel. There’s no access to telecommunications. And this is being done with the support of the United States government. And we’re here to say enough,” she said.

While largely outnumbered, several speakers urged the board to reject the original resolution or to pass it with Dorsey’s amendments. They said they felt unsafe as Jewish people and were horrified by calls for the destruction of Israel.

Tyler Gregory, CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Bay Area, was booed loudly when he said at the hearing that the war would be done if Hamas laid down their weapons, but “if Israel puts down its weapons, there will be no more Israel.”

After the hearing, he said that cease-fire resolutions are creating a hostile environment and encouraging acts of antisemitism, such as the destruction of a large menorah by Oakland’s Lake Merritt last month.

“No matter what happens” Tuesday, he said, “no one’s going to win.”

The resolution and any amendments will be before the full board Tuesday.

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AP journalist Haven Daley contributed to this report.

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