Politics and Government

St. Paul City Council passes cease-fire resolution with a unanimous vote

People talk in a chamber
The St. Paul City Council passed a cease-fire resolution for the Israel-Hamas war on Wednesday.
Melissa Olson | MPR News

The St. Paul City Council passed a resolution Wednesday calling for an “immediate and permanent mutual cease-fire in Israel and Gaza.” 

Protesters who oppose the Israel-Hamas war had been urging the St. Paul City Council to pass the resolution for several months, forcing St. Paul’s lawmakers to decide their role in an international conversation. 

St. Paul Council Member Cheniqua Johnson introduced the resolution, which passed with a unanimous 7-0 vote. The resolution was added to the council’s agenda Wednesday afternoon. 

“We had conversations up until the final hour,” Johnson said. “Council members were able to say, ‘You know what, I can stand by this resolution.’”

People hold pro-Israel signs
Demonstrators against a cease-fire resolution attended the St. Paul City Council meeting Wednesday.
Melissa Olson | MPR News

Council Member Nelsie Yang had urged fellow council members to pass the resolution for weeks, at one point alleging fellow council member and council president Mitra Jalali ended a previous meeting to prevent her from motioning the council to consider a similar resolution.

Jalali told MPR News that Yang did not follow the protocol she’s laid out as council president for bringing resolutions forward.  

Wednesday’s meeting was packed with people carrying signs urging city council to act and people who carried signs signaling their support for Israel.  

“As a council member who has been in support of the cease-fire from the beginning, I’m just really proud about the moment that we’re in now,” Yang said. “That we’re able to, to really say that we made it through this together with community and with each other, because it’s been hard on everybody.” 

There were moments during the discussion when those in the room vocalized dissent or support, and when Council President Mitra Jalali used her gavel to ask attendees to remain quiet. For the most part, those in the room remained respectful of one another. 

Deputy Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council for Minnesota & The Dakotas Ethan Roberts said he had conversations with city council members leading up to passage of the resolution.  

People hold signs
Demonstrators in support of a cease-fire resolution attended the St. Paul City Council meeting on Wednesday.
Melissa Olson | MPR News

He said he believes the language in the St. Paul resolution does not contain what he called the “inflammatory and divisive pieces” in the recent Minneapolis city council resolution calling for cease-fire.  

“They wanted to do it in a St. Paul way,” said Roberts. “They wanted to do it in a way that didn’t feel unduly divisive that wasn’t using inflammatory rhetoric and a way that can have unanimous support. And I think they accomplished that today.” 

The city of St. Paul joins several other Minnesota cities that have passed cease-fire resolutions, including Minneapolis, Columbia Heights, Hastings and Moorhead.