Politics and Government

Minneapolis City Council passes cease-fire resolution for Israel-Hamas war

A person wearing a black and white scarf hugs a Black woman
Minneapolis City Council member Robin Wonsley hugs University of Minnesota professor Sima Shakhsari after the city council voted to pass a cease-fire resolution regarding the Israel-Hamas war on Thursday.
Ben Hovland | MPR News

Updated: 2:30 p.m.

The Minneapolis City Council on Thursday passed a resolution calling for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war.  

The resolution passed on a 9-3 vote with one abstention, after more than an hour of discussion and debate among council members and Mayor Jacob Frey.

Hundreds of people, both in support of and opposed to the resolution, filled the council chambers and overflow rooms carrying signs and flags. Supporters rallied in the lobby afterwards to celebrate the outcome.

The symbolic resolution calls for an immediate and permanent cease-fire; humanitarian aid; an end to U.S. military funding to Israel; and the release of Israeli hostages taken by Hamas and the release of Palestinians held in Israeli military prisons. Supporters hope it will add pressure to state and federal lawmakers.  

Council President Elliott Payne voted for the resolution, and said he’d heard from lots of constituents about it. He pushed back against criticism directed at the council for debating a symbolic measure.

“For me on a personal level, I don't see this as a waste of time. I don’t see reflecting our communities’ voice and concerns as a waste of time, even when those concerns are outside of our jurisdiction,” he said.

In addition to Payne, Council Members Aurin Chowdhury, Aisha Chughtai, Robin Wonsley, Jason Chavez, Jeremiah Ellison, Jamal Osman, Andrea Jenkins and Katie Cashman voted for the resolution.

A Black woman speaks while a white woman listens
Minneapolis city council member Robin Wonsley rebukes council member Linea Palmisano after the latter brought an alternative cease-fire resolution to the council during a meeting on Thursday.
Ben Hovland | MPR News

Council Members Linea Palmisano, Michael Rainville and LaTrisha Vetaw voted against the resolution. Council Member Emily Koski abstained.

Palmisano called the resolution imbalanced.

“Cease-fire is not what this is about. This is about wanting to become the city with the most radical, far-reaching resolution to support one side, and I do not read your language any other way. I’ve consistently urged a different path here,” she said.

Palmisano offered an alternative cease-fire resolution — a shorter version omitting contentious references to the history of Israel and Gaza. Her alternative was voted down.

A man speaks into a mic as his image is played on a TV
Mayor Jacob Frey speaks about how his identity as a Jewish Minnesotan informs his opinion on the wording of the proposed cease-fire resolution during a Minneapolis City Council meeting on Thursday.
Ben Hovland | MPR News

The mayor also spoke out against the resolution. Frey, who is Jewish, told council members that he supports a cease-fire, but called the council’s resolution language “one-sided.”

“It chooses what context and history to include, and what context and history to ignore,” he said.

Afterward, a spokesperson for Frey said he had no additional comment and was taking time to think about whether he’d veto the measure. But nine council votes would be enough to override a veto.  

Among supporters of the resolution, Jenkins said the situation in Gaza “is a humanitarian crisis, and I believe that we must stand up on the side of justice. I really want to acknowledge the pain and the suffering that those in the Jewish community, Israeli and Palestinian folks who have been slaughtered in this most recent war.”

Noting that conflict in the region has been going on for years, Jenkins said, “I think that our expressions will not necessarily change that. It doesn’t mean that we should not speak on this.”

Minneapolis joins several other major U.S. cities that have passed cease-fire resolutions, including San Francisco, Atlanta and Detroit. A similar resolution is under consideration in Chicago. 

Since the council raised the issue earlier this month, it’s sparked heated debates and brought crowds to meetings. Supporters and opponents brought signs and banners to a Tuesday committee meeting where the resolution was debated, and advanced by the same vote margin.

A seated crowds holds up signs
Pro-Palestine and pro-Israel supporters fill the council chambers before the Minneapolis city council votes on a resolution calling for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war on Thursday.
Ben Hovland | MPR News