June 12, 2024

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

Public asks council to stand against genocide in Gaza

26 min read
Brennan Fitzgerald to the Eugene City Council: "At the beginning of this meeting, you did a land acknowledgement describing colonization and displacement of Indigenous peoples, and you read out a statement on the importance of human rights. If these are your values, you must stand for them now, not just in retrospect. Call for a cease-fire now, a release of all hostages on both sides, and an end to the U.S. military funding of Israel."

The Eugene City Council passed a resolution asking for peace talks, but did not demand an immediate cease-fire in Gaza. Council members were asked to issue a stronger statement, to end what speakers called the genocide being financed by U.S. taxpayers. At the public forum on Dec. 11:

Emily Beatty: Hi, my name is Emily Beatty. I’m a graduate student at the University of Oregon. I’m also a member of the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation, our graduate union at University of Oregon.

[00:00:28] I’m here to call on the Eugene City Council to call for a permanent cease-fire in Palestine and to not follow in the tracks of other elected officials, including the vast majority of our federal Congress people and the president in obscuring the reality of genocide currently unfolding in Palestine.

[00:00:44] Two weeks ago, many members of our community spoke to this council and demanded you all call for a permanent cease-fire. And to have responded with a watered-down resolution that was unanimously approved, we are here to tell you that this is completely unacceptable and that we insist on, our elected officials respond to the demands of our constituents of their constituents.

[00:01:03] This is not optional. It is your job. As we stand here once again, demanding your calls for a cease-fire. Palestinians continue to suffer from the violence of the Israeli occupation, facing hunger, disease, all forms of violence and death suffering that has been openly aided by our president in opposition of the public’s mobilization towards justice for Palestine.

[00:01:23] If we cannot make the president listen, then you will have to listen as we demand that you use your positions to support this community’s calls to end the assault of Palestinians. Your performance of a reading of the International Declaration of Human Rights is hollow, devoid of commitment, and entirely unconvincing if the steps you take as a council make no legitimate effort to acknowledge the inhumanity of the genocidal campaign against Palestinians, or to use your authority to pressure other elected officials to stop undue harm as fervently as possible.

[00:01:53] Eugene demands a permanent cease-fire now, and we will continue to show up until this council stands with us. Thank you, and free Palestine.

[00:02:00] Anna Rain: My name is Anna Rain, and I’ve lived here for the past 20 years of my life, and I really love this city. I’m going to read an excerpt on analysis on national Palestinian liberation and the women’s struggle.

[00:02:18] We must refuse to allow the Zionists and all that are in league with them to weaponize the concept of women’s suffering to advance their own colonial interests in Palestine. This has been a tactic that has been championed by the imperialists to manage consent or to manufacture consent for the bloody genocide all throughout the global South. It is our duty to kill this myth and to push back against the imperialist disinformation campaigns and to fervently support the restoration of nationhood to the Palestinian people against their settler occupiers.

[00:02:58] In the settler colony, the contradiction around colonial exploitation and the genocide supersedes all other social contradictions. There is no way for the Palestinian woman masses to eliminate patriarchy without first asserting the political right to self-determination and nationhood as a colonized people.

[00:03:22] As Marxists, thus dialectical materialists, we know that the Zionist occupation must fall for women’s liberation to prevail, and that the continued colonial exploitation, disposition, and genocide of Palestine must be addressed. Free Palestine.

[00:03:41] Ryder Hales: My name is Ryder Hales. I’m a first-year PhD student here at the University of Oregon and a member of the Graduate Teaching Fellows Foundation. So I’ve only lived in the town for a little less than a year, but I’ll hopefully be here for several more. And I’m delighted to be here in front of the council for the first time.

[00:04:00] I live in the wonderful Jefferson Westside neighborhood. It’s been a treat to continue to be part of this community and build my career as I enter the world. And I love the opportunity to have the city council with whom I can request for a call for immediate cease-fire and end of occupation.

[00:04:18] I share the same views as many of us here and yeah, we would very much like it if you can do the right thing and call for the end of the occupation and to free Palestine. On behalf of the university, GTFF, and the city of Oregon, please do the right thing.

[00:04:36] City of Eugene: Our next speaker is Todd Boyle.

[00:04:44] Todd Boyle: Todd Boyle. I’m a veteran, and it’s time for some really serious reflection on what’s going on in Gaza right now.

[00:04:47] It’s really past time for the people of the United States to think more deeply about what we’ve been supporting. We’ve been supporting a government that doesn’t reflect our values. It’s a basically an apartheid government that doesn’t give equal rights to most of its citizens. And it’s evil.

[00:05:04] And there is a time, there have been times in our lifetime when the United States government has done very evil things. Let’s say the invasion of Iraq, who was not a threat to the United States, never attacked the United States., there was no reason to be there, Al Qaeda was not in Iraq. And where is our moral compass?

[00:05:22] There comes a time when each of us needs to speak out and take a stand when something is wrong. This is wrong. What’s going on now. And like all wars, it’s unnecessary. What Israel is doing in Gaza, not necessary. It’s also immoral. It’s also unwise, and it creates consequences that will ripple on for many generations.

[00:05:43] This country has barely gotten over the Civil War. The echoes of that are still burned into the souls of, and the World War II generation. I was born during the Korean War. We heard many nice thoughts about Korea. I audited in Korea. And we, with North Korea, we are still bearing the consequences of MacArthur and all that philosophy.

[00:06:05] And I fought against the war in Vietnam. That was an evil war. It was evil. There’s such a thing as evil. And it’s time for, this is quite a modest resolution. And I would like you to consider calling on our Rep. Hoyle and our two senators to reverse U. S. policy supporting Israel. We need to at least stop funding them and defending their actions in the United Nations.

[00:06:30] Leilani Sabzalian: Leilani Sabzalian, Associate Professor of Indigenous Studies and Education at the University of Oregon. I’m so disappointed that you already voted to pass that resolution. I was very disappointed in the proclamation that you passed. Today is the 66th day in what has now clearly become a genocide, according to international human rights experts, as well as scholars of Holocaust and genocide studies.

[00:06:52] Each day we witnessed this genocide via our phones and our laptops. Each day we awake to new horrors and losses to grieve and mourn. It’s unbearable to me that 20,000 people, Palestinians, have been killed. Thousands remain trapped in the rubble. Nearly two million have been displaced and all have been traumatized.

[00:07:15] It’s even more unbearable to me that people continue to think this is a complex or controversial issue and refuse to take a clear stance. This is not a conflict and it’s not a war, like your declaration said. It’s genocide. And as people of conscience, we have a moral obligation to condemn genocide in the clearest terms possible.

[00:07:34] In a context where Palestinians are experiencing intensified state violence, indeed, facing their attempted elimination, I do not accept your tepid statement that calls for continued cease-fire peace talks. When dozens of statements by Israeli leaders and army officers in command make clear their intent is to destroy Palestinian people, I do not accept your generic and vague condemnation of actions against certain groups in relation to specific events.

[00:08:01] I don’t even know what that means. The proclamation reminds me of a longstanding pattern of performativity in Eugene and liberal politics more broadly, where people want to appear non-racist, rather than take clear anti-racist actions. This proclamation reads to me like a performance, a way to appear just without actually taking a clear stance for justice.

[00:08:20] You stripped the proclamation of the one thing we asked you to say. I don’t want performativity, I want a principled stance against genocide, and a clear call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire. I appreciated that your proclamation affirmed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but Israel is violating the very rights that you say you support as we speak, including people’s right to life, right to freedom of movement, and right to leave a country or return.

[00:08:45] Please take your own statements and commitments seriously and revise this declaration.

[00:08:51] Brennan Fitzgerald: Hello, everyone, my name is Brennan Fitzgerald. I’m a second-year graduate student at UO, and a member of the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation, the graduate student union.

[00:09:01] When over 18,000 people have been killed and over 1.8 million people have been displaced, when we are witnessing a genocide that’s following 75 years of apartheid and occupation, this is not the time to hide behind weak language. This is not the time to call merely for a facilitation of de-escalation or continued cease-fire peace talks, words that mean nothing as we watch a genocide that is funded by our tax dollars occur.

[00:09:31] At the beginning of this meeting, you did a land acknowledgement describing colonization and displacement of Indigenous peoples, and you read out a statement on the importance of human rights. If these are your values, you must stand for them now, not just in retrospect. Call for a cease-fire now, a release of all hostages on both sides, and an end to the U.S. military funding of Israel. Thank you, and free Palestine.

[00:09:55] Jacob Trewe: My name’s Jacob Trewe…I’m also here to speak about your resolution that you just passed regarding the Palestinian conflict over there in Israel/Palestine. I’m sorry to say that I’m afraid your resolution just doesn’t pass the bar of what’s necessary for opposing the genocide that’s clearly going on over there. I’d encourage you to take a look at the resolutions that we passed you to y’all before or to the detailed email explanations that we’ve sent you and reconsider.

[00:10:22] Nicholas De Grange: My name is Nick De Grange… Well, you guys passed the resolution calling for peace and opposing the war.  What I and members of our coalition, members of the community are requiring, is that this resolution be changed and made more robust.

[00:10:37] And here’s the six things that a lot of us are asking for:

(1) This resolution needs to have a permanent cease-fire attached to it.

(2) We want a condemnation of war crimes by Israel, which have targeted innocent civilians, journalists, hospitals, refugee centers, and other critical infrastructure that Palestinians need to live.

(3) An acknowledgment that this war is not between two equal parties. Since early October, Israel has dropped, and early October to now, Israel has dropped 25,000 tons of explosives in Gaza, which is equivalent to almost two of the atomic bombs dropped in Hiroshima/Nagasaki. The fact that Gaza is one of the most densely-populated areas on earth makes the fact that you’re dropping, that they’re dropping atomic-bomb-level proportions of explosives even more unforgivable.

(4) We need an acknowledgement of genocide. As the Palestinian death toll rises over 18,000 and civilian deaths account for a vast majority of them, it is imperative that we not water down our proposal’s language, but rather accurately reflect the state of events happening in Gaza.

(5) Opposing additional military aid to Israel. We must morally reject the U.S. funding of genocide and ethnic cleansing and the occupation of Gaza. Therefore we cannot provide a single dollar of military aid to Israel going forward.

(6) Opposing criticism of Israel or Zionism is not antisemitism. This rhetoric is ultimately harmful as it works to silence Semitic voices opposed to this war, including Jewish and Arab members of this community.

[00:12:23] Thank you. I hope you will consider making all of these necessary changes.

[00:12:27] Valentine Bentz: My name is Valentine. I’m an undergraduate student at the University of Oregon and an ally of the University of Oregon Students for Justice in Palestine.

[00:12:36] On behalf of my Palestinian peers and the Eugene Palestinian community, I ask you to reconsider your actions, revise your resolution, and include the following points. One, a call for a permanent ceasefire. Two, a call on all of our elected federal officials, not just the Biden-Harris administration, to demand a permanent ceasefire.

[00:12:56] And three, a call on elected officials to discontinue aid to the state of Israel while the Israeli government commits genocide against Palestinians. The resolution you passed is insufficient. It is meaningless. This affects people, Palestinian people in your own community as well. These points represent a bare minimum of justice.

[00:13:15] City of Eugene: Our next speaker is Thomas Hiura.

[00:13:17] Thomas Hiura: Thomas Hiura. I’m speaking today as a private individual, and it’s a very emotional meeting for me, I think, because this is a very, very deep and powerful moment. I’m so appreciative that the community can stand up and support the rights of Palestinians, support the rights of Gaza, and support the rights of people to not face collective punishment, to not face wanton violence and killing.

[00:13:41] And I want to urge all of our federal representatives to take action to speak out against the genocide. I also believe that you have created a resolution that has good in it and that there’s steps that are being made, for example, saying right up front that all human life is precious and the targeting of civilians, no matter their faith or ethnicity, is a violation of international human rights.

[00:14:05] I want to thank Mayor Vinis for coming to the event. It was not a very crowded room, but on Saturday, you saw an immensely powerful statement of people organized around human rights in this community. And I do hope that the recording is available for people to see. I was honored to moderate that panel.

[00:14:20] I’m honored to try to stand with you and to push for a resolution that will be sufficient, that will represent so many of the great points that people have made here tonight. And I also believe at the same time, because I also believe at the same time that you’re making an effort to speak to the people in power that are not listening.

[00:14:39] And the voice that you’ve chosen, it’s a step in the right direction. And as so many people, we’ve got a lot of young people in this room, sometimes I’ve turned in a draft of a paper and it got torn up by a professor, and I thought, you know what, I need to go back to the drawing board potentially.

[00:14:53] So, yeah, it’s a nuanced, it’s a difficult conversation for me, even though some of the matters in this are extremely simple—the fact that nobody should be targeted based on their faith, their religion, no collective punishment is wrong and I believe the U.S. militarism is wrong.

[00:15:08] So, I know that my words will seem mealy-mouthed to some, the pain that’s going on in so many sectors of our community right now. And I strongly urge Joe Biden to act in reverse of what he’s been doing. We should not have vetoed at the U.N.

[00:15:20] Spencer McIntyre: My name is Spencer McIntyre. I was one of the authors of the resolution that was submitted to this body two weeks ago. And I have to say that I am disappointed, disheartened, and frankly offended by the resolution proposed and unanimously passed by this council today.

[00:15:35] As it stands currently, $2,687,851 of taxpayer money directly from Eugene, Oregon annually helps to fund the illegal apartheid regime in Gaza by the state of Israel.

[00:15:46] When I say illegal, I want to note that this is not just an opinion that I personally hold. The U.N. Security Council recognized Israel’s actions as explicitly illegal in resolutions passed in 1979, 1980, and 2016. So when I say that our tax dollars are funding an illegal occupation, genocide, and war crimes, that is quite simply just a fact.

[00:16:07] The resolution we wrote and provided for you is filled with these hard facts and statistics about the lives of people in Gaza.

[00:16:14] We made it so easy for you to explicitly support a permanent cease-fire, which is, quite frankly, the bare minimum of what we can do for our fellow humans in Gaza right now. We, the people of Eugene, implore you to try again. Try again. This was not enough, and the community has already reminded you of what the calls are for, and what we’ve called for, and I helped to write it, so I won’t repeat them.

[00:16:38] But I will say that the most up to date death toll reports are over 20,000 people dead, over 7,870 children who have lost their lives due to the unjust and illegal attacks on Palestinians. How many more innocent lives need to be lost before you take action in solidarity with Palestinian people?

[00:16:58] This reminds me deeply of a Desmond Tutu quote:  ‘If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.’ I am deeply disturbed that this governing body is choosing to side with the oppressor in this situation. Sen. Merkley has already joined the national and global call for a ceasefire.

[00:17:17] Rep. Val Hoyle and Sen. Wyden have yet to do so. It is our collective responsibility to apply pressure to encourage our representatives to take actions. Your call for peace begs the question: Peace for whom? It is certainly not a call for peace for Palestinians. For without justice, there can be no peace.

[00:17:35] City of Eugene: Our next speaker this evening is Geoffrey Gordon.

[00:17:38] Geoffrey Gordon: Geoffrey Gordon. I’m here to talk about the urgent need for the city of Eugene to endorse our community’s call for an immediate cease-fire in Palestine and Israel. You need to endorse the robust language of the cease-fire resolution text that we, the people, submitted to this party many days ago.

[00:17:56] Since this council wrote its own insufficient resolution, I must point out obvious omissions. The statement of commitment to peace rings hollow when you cannot even use the words apartheid, ethnic cleansing, occupation, or colonialism. You draw a false equivalency between the suffering of Palestinians and their colonizers. (Councilors) Keating and Zelenka, you are especially guilty of this.

[00:18:18] Mayor, I deeply respect your legacy as vice president of American Near East Refugee Aid. Everyone here should respect that our mayor worked for an organization that stood as one of the few voices in America advocating for the rights and needs of Palestinian refugees at a time when they had no sympathy in American popular consciousness.

[00:18:37] There is justice in your heart and true knowledge in your mind, so I beg you to guide your colleagues towards a better statement. I know you’re not seeking re-election, so this is a last chance to make your legacy as mayor actually represent your professed advocacy for peace. Winter recess may be coming up. Call a special session if you need to. Make it happen.

[00:19:00] I have one more personal request of all of you. Say out loud, tonight, that anti-Zionism is not antisemitism, for the sake of Jewish peace activists like me that face persecution. By our thousands, by our millions, we are all Palestinians. Thank you for listening.

[00:19:16] Ashley Wright: I am Ashley Wright. I’m also here to talk about Palestine. It’s very easy to get caught up in keywords. I’ve not made any Facebook posts or anything because I really want to make sure that I don’t get in the shouting matches about the things that are really distracting: Who’s indigenous? What does indigenous mean? I don’t mean to dismiss anybody who, this is important to them.

[00:19:41] But what it comes down to is, funding the Israeli military is like a vote of confidence for genocide. And we don’t want a vote of confidence for genocide. I don’t.

[00:19:52] And so I think we should make this clear in the wording that we don’t support funding for the Israeli military. They’re actively committing genocide and we don’t want to fund this. It’ll result in more genocide. I don’t know what kind of twilight zone I live in where I need to break this down, but here we are.

[00:20:08] Katherine Price: My name is Katherine Price. I’m here tonight to urge you to do the bare minimum by calling for an immediate and permanent ceasefire and an end to all military aid to Israel. Your response so far has been unacceptable. I would also like to say that I am here in solidarity tonight with both Jews and Palestinians and that we are all exacerbating all forms of racism and xenophobia, including antisemitism, by funding this genocide.

[00:20:39] The right path forward includes an eradication of all forms of persecution, but we will never achieve that while funding an ethnic cleansing. It is also very frustrating to me personally that our taxes are being used to bomb hospitals in Gaza when our city doesn’t even have a hospital anymore. This is your chance to stop history from repeating itself, and you are failing.

[00:21:07] We need—we will keep demonstrating outside of your offices, marching in the streets, and packing these city council meetings until you call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire and an end to all military aid to Israel, according to the resolution submitted by our community members. From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.

[00:21:287 Sienna Fitzpatrick: Hello, my name is Sienna Fitzpatrick. I’m a graduate student at University of Oregon and a member of the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation student union.

[00:21:37] I’m here tonight to voice my disappointment with council’s resolution regarding the genocide of Palestinians. I was excited to move to a community that is progressive and isn’t afraid to speak out against injustice. But this resolution does not reflect the community’s values or our request of you, our representatives.

[00:21:56] I urge council to reconsider this resolution for a stronger and more direct statement that fully recognizes what’s happening in Palestine, like this one myself and many others tonight have submitted.

[00:22:08] Kamryn Stringfield: My name is Kamryn Stringfield. I’m a trans woman here in Eugene. I also ran for Coos Bay City Council twice, so I’ve been at plenty of city council meetings before. I know how city councils run. I know how slow they can be. I know how disappointing they can be to the people that elect you. You are elected representatives. You’re not a think tank. You are an elected government that’s supposed to represent your community.

[00:22:31] So where do I even start? Two weeks ago, I submitted this. This is a community-drafted resolution for a ceasefire, among other things that has been stated, like opposing U.S. military aid to Israel, standing with the Palestinian people, overtly saying that. It does everything that, well, the very little amount that your resolution does and a lot more. It’s very strong.

[00:22:57] To be honest, it seems like you just tossed it in the trash and started from scratch. And that is very disappointing and offensive to this community that we elect you as representatives.

[00:23:09] We give you something that we took the time and effort to write. And then you shred it. I don’t know what you did with it, but you didn’t use it. And I know that it might seem like people are coming up and they’re being rude to you or they’re being super-emotional about this, but this is a genocide that is happening.

[00:23:24] You need to treat it with the weight that it actually has. Elections are going to be coming up next year. Constituents might want to know how you stood up in a time of genocide when a lot of people would rather be silent. Did you take a bold stand or did you coward away? To go ahead and just point out a couple of things that was wrong with your resolution:

[00:23:44] John Q: Kamryn cited a Haaretz article from Nov. 18 reporting that some partygoers at the Supernova festival were hit by friendly fire.

[00:23:54] Kamryn Stringfield: 20,000 Palestinians have been killed since. It’s a clear genocide. It’s a textbook definition of genocide. We’re asking you to go ahead and endorse a real cease-fire resolution, the one that we’ve proposed. And also, you won’t be a city of peace until you show that. How are you a city of peace when you harass and have so much violence against your unhoused population?

[00:24:14] Charlie Henderson: I apologize if my voice shakes. It is not out of fear, it is out of anger. Good evening and thank you for allowing me to address you today. My name is Charlie Henderson, a new member of the Eugene community. When I arrived here a few months ago, I had hope that this progressive state and city council would represent and understand the voices of its residents, including those who need political support.

[00:24:40] However, I must express my great disappointment with the current resolution regarding the situation in Palestine. In your resolution, you state that all human life is precious and that targeting civilians regardless of their faith or ethnicity is a violation of international human rights, which you addressed in the beginning of this meeting.

[00:24:57] I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment. However, I must question the call for a temporary cease-fire instead of a permanent one. The lives of innocent Palestinians who are being subjected to a genocidal level of violence cannot be disregarded or treated lightly. As members of this council, I understand that many of you have children.

[00:25:15] You have children with the privilege of going home to your families without fear that your homes will be bombed or that your hospitals will be destroyed (not that we have one now). Meanwhile, parents in Palestine are returning to what was once their home, their bodies of their children disfigured and torn apart, their hands stained with the blood of their infants.

[00:25:40] I implore you as human beings, perhaps, to prioritize the lives of these innocent civilians and demand a permanent ceasefire. In Section 2 of your resolution, you mentioned the feelings of great anguish, loss, and despair. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that as individuals sitting in America, we have the privilege and safety of security.

[00:26:00] Therefore, we have no right to claim genuine sadness by the loss of life in Palestine. We must hold ourselves accountable and take meaningful action to address the ongoing war crimes and genocide in the region on a Holocaustal level. If we fail to establish a permanent cease-fire and hold Israel accountable for its war crimes, who will be the next victims?

[00:26:18] We have a moral obligation to prevent the further suffering of injustice. I plead with you to re-evaluate this resolution, prioritize the lives of innocent Palestinians, and advocate for the permanent cease-fire. You are welcome for my time.

[00:26:33] Julie Williams-Reyes: Good evening, everybody. My name is Julie and I use pronouns they/them and I am a GE graduate student at the University of Oregon in the philosophy department and I’ve lived here in Eugene for about seven years or so.

[00:26:44] I am an anti-imperialist, an anti-racial capitalist, and anti-war. I’m using this time that I am allotted to speak face-to-face with my immediate and direct representatives of my rights beside myself of my lived experience/experiences in the city of Eugene, Oregon, and all of the very little of my tax dollars that go to the support of the locale of Lane County, where I live, work, struggle and love in community and through community to ask you all as elected officials to assume your radical freedom with me and the people here and the world over as we try to assume the depths and demands of our assumed and right now privileged (that’s not the way freedom is supposed to be, but) privileged freedom and respond to the calls of distress and genocide in Palestine, among other places.

[00:27:30] I have read your resolution and it is not enough at this time. Thousands of people are dying in the genocide of Palestinian people, not to mention the indigenous people of Turtle Island and marginalized people around the world over. This genocide is not just starting, it is in process, and we need to inform how it ends. I recognize the work you do, and I’m grateful for what you do, what you do that I cannot do. However, I need you to see the distress that we carry in our hearts and lives and futures as we witness this tragedy of genocidal violence. Right now, you do not see me.

[00:28:01] I am forced to consent to your procedures and processes, but what about my needs for consensual discourse? What about the work of my communities and I have done in support of human rights, before this Human Rights Day, before human rights campaigns, at the time of marronage, at the time of the colonial imposition, at which we didn’t wait for some reified date, legitimized by the state.

[00:28:25] Yes, we call for an immediate cease-fire and we, through practical action and examples, we want to shift our material resources and conditions, such as the financial resources that we are using to support the genocide through funding of military investments of Israeli forces. We must boycott, divest, and sanction Israel.

[00:28:45] We must oppose U.S. funds to military and genocide.

[00:28:48] City of Eugene: Our next speaker is Bill O’Brien.

[00:28:50] Bill O’Brien: Please no watered-down resolution proposal concerning Israel / Palestine…

[00:29:06] The powers that be are feckless and morally bankrupt. So that includes the U.N., that includes the United States, that includes Israel, that includes Saudi Arabia, that includes Iran, that probably includes Jordan as well.

[00:29:08] 1948, the State of Israel was established through Western powers. Wonderful. That’s great. Then my understanding of history, through the ensuing conflicts, Israel took over territories. And so you have basically a Palestine that is basically almost Jordan. That’s where the boundaries end.

[00:29:29] They need, and I don’t know who’s going to do it, because they’ve been talking about a two-state solution. They’ve been talking out of both sides of their mouth. When they say, ‘Oh, we want a two-state solution.’ ‘No, we can’t have a two-state solution’ or something. You got all these factions in the Israeli government, they don’t want it.

[00:29:47] And then I think a lot of the Arab countries, they use the Palestinians as a bargaining chip. And the United States is more concerned about hegemony and powers-that-be.

[00:30:00] Well, Israel is overreaching, okay? I’m sorry about 14,000 people dead and all this horrible stuff, but you’ve got basically a huge area of Palestine, two million people, 80% of it’s destroyed.

[00:30:15] And who’s going to rebuild it? Israel says, ‘Oh, we don’t want to do it.’ The Arab people don’t want to do it. The Arab countries don’t really want to do it either because they’re going to be mixing with Israel. Someone has to do it.

[00:30:27] Luna Wicker: I’m Luna Wicker, an undergraduate student at the University of Oregon. As of today, over 20,000 Palestinians have been killed, including over 7,000 Palestinian children and two million have been displaced. This is a genocide, and we must not use watered-down language or take neutral stances on war crimes.

[00:30:49] I urge the Eugene City Council to pass the resolution that has been posited by many of the people here today, rather than the watered-down version that was passed recently. This is a time-critical matter, and people’s lives are on the line. Free Palestine.

[00:31:07] City of Eugene: Our next speaker this evening is Aidain C.

[00:31:11] Aidain C: Hello everybody. I wanted to talk about the genocide in Palestine. Twenty thousand dead and the numbers rising might seem like a big number. So, I wanted to read you guys a poem by one such Palestinian, Refaat Alareer:

If I must die,
you must live
to tell my story
to sell my things
to buy a piece of cloth
and some strings,
(make it white with a long tail)
so that a child, somewhere in Gaza
while looking heaven in the eye
awaiting his dad who left in a blaze —
and bid no one farewell
not even to his flesh
not even to himself —
sees the kite, my kite you made, flying up above,
and thinks for a moment an angel is there
bringing back love.
If I must die
let it bring hope,
let it be a tale.

[00:32:00] This poet, this writer, Refaat Alareer was killed by the IDF bombing on his home with his family, his wife and his kids. So if you want to keep your resolution the way it is, I guess the people of Eugene will know what side of history you guys are on.

[00:32:20] City of Eugene: Our next speaker is Chelsi Cahoon.

[00:32:22] Chelsi Cahoon: Hi, if my voice shakes, it’s because I’m angry and it’s because I also have social anxiety, so this is very hard for me.

[00:32:28] So I’m coming to you today as a Navy veteran with five years of military service. I’m here to reject the weak watered-down resolution drafted by the council and affirm my position in support of the resolution drafted by the members of this community.

[00:32:40] Fighting for humanity should be easy. It should be second nature. What makes it hard is when others don’t join the fight when they have the power to do so. I am stunned and appalled at the lack of conviction, morality, humanity, as well as the complacency and complicity shown by the members of this council, as well as most members of U.S. government, in standing up against the current genocide being taking place against the Palestinian people.

[00:33:00] Any human being with any sense of morality would be against the assault that did take place on Oct. 7, and I want to be clear that I express that sympathy and agree with that as well. I have seen Oregon elected officials’ responses in condemning this attack as well.

[00:33:12] However, two months has passed. I have not seen a condemnation against Israel and their onslaught as the death toll of Palestinian civilians reaches the number of 20,000 lives lost, over 50,000 injured, and several thousands missing under the rubble. I have not seen condemnation against the war crimes of collective punishment, the bombing of schools, hospitals, and refugee camps brought against the Palestinians.

[00:33:31] I have not seen the condemnation for the unprecedented targeted attacks and death against journalists in Gaza in order to silence them. I have not seen the condemnation of Israel who have cut off almost all access to food, water, electricity, and medical supplies to Gaza.

[00:33:43] I have not seen the condemnation of apartheid and illegal occupation that the Palestinians have suffered now for 75 years. This type of critical rhetoric that you have adopted would almost be comical if it hadn’t resulted in the deaths of so many humans. What you have done so far, I can assure you, is not enough.

[00:33:58] I have a 15-month-old daughter. I see her face in the images of the martyred children I see in Gaza. I get to hug her, feed her, put her to bed, and while I am so incredibly grateful I am able to keep her safe, I ask myself how the lives of Palestinian children could possibly mean less than hers by so many elected officials.

[00:34:16] How lucky I am to continue to watch her grow and learn when thousands and thousands of Palestinian mothers and fathers can no longer do the same. There are thousands of orphans as a result of this genocide and too many continue to give lackluster support in stopping this. We’ve seen this kind of dehumanization on display in history before and how catastrophic those results were.

[00:34:32] Why would we allow for this to happen again? Now is the time to give full unconditional support to the liberation of Palestinian people. Only then can Israel and Palestine live in peace. It is our responsibility to demand an immediate ceasefire now. End the occupation and send humanitarian aid to Gaza before more innocent lives are lost.

[00:34:48] John Q: At the public forum Dec. 11, the Eugene city councilors hear they did not go far enough. They are asked to live up to their commitment to human rights and demand an end to genocide in Gaza.


The Dec. 11 public forum followed two earlier sessions Nov. 13 and Nov. 27, during which speakers also asked the Eugene City Council to call for an immediate cease-fire.

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