City Council Calls for a Humanitarian Ceasefire

Cincinnati City Council passed a resolution on the Israel-Hamas war that calls for the release of the hostages, a humanitarian ceasefire, and unrestricted aid. 

“Expressing Cincinnati City Council’s sympathy of the ongoing human suffering caused by the current conflict in the Middle East; Condemning violence against civilians of any kind; affirming Cincinnati’s status as a welcoming community for those of the Jewish and Islamic religions and all other religions; Supporting the right of Palestinian and Israeli civilians to live in safety and peace; and Encouraging Cincinnati residents to offer support and sincere empathy to members of our community affected by the ongoing violence and loss of life,” reads the first paragraph of the resolution. 

There has been increased pressure on the city council to pass a ceasefire resolution since the Israel-Hamas war began after Oct. 7, when Hamas launched a series of attacks on Israel, killed 1,200 Israelis, and took 253 hostages. 

For weeks, the council faced calls to address the escalating Israel-Hamas conflict, with activists both supporting and opposing a resolution’s passage. Hundreds of people attended a four-hour citizens forum on Feb. 14 when no resolution was on the agenda. 

At that council meeting on Feb. 14, Mayor Aftab Pureval said he did not think the council should take up a resolution because it would further divide the city. 

There were two ceasefire resolutions on the agenda for the city council meeting on March 6. The resolution introduced by councilmember Meeka Owens, which called for a permanent ceasefire, failed. 

The other ceasefire resolution supported a call for a humanitarian ceasefire and supported the negotiators in Cairo. It was written by council member Anna Albi and was co-sponsored by council members Reggie Harris, Mark Jeffreys, and Seth Walsh. 

The resolution urges the city council to acknowledge the “ongoing human suffering from the current Middle East conflict” and supports Cairo negotiations for a six-week truce before Ramadan. It also demands the release of hostages and unrestricted humanitarian aid.

In a statement, the Jewish Federation praised the resolution’s wording, saying that “it unites rather than divides.”

“It reflects the Jewish community’s aspiration – shared by numerous Cincinnati residents – that considerate and steadfast negotiation will lead to peace for Israelis and Palestinians alike,” said the Federation in a statement. 

The JCRC and Federation have been encouraging the council to pass a resolution that would include the concerns of the Jewish community, and serve as a bridge to begin conversations with the Muslim community in Cincinnati. 

“These actions symbolize our hope to mend relations between our Jewish and Muslim communities in Cincinnati, advancing us toward lasting peace that benefits all, including Israelis, Palestinians, and Cincinnatians alike,” the Federation said in a statement. 

You can read the resolution in its entirety on the City Council website.