EASTHAMPTON — After two city council meetings, two rules and governmental relations subcommittee meetings, and hours of public comment, the Easthampton City Council voted 7-0 in favor, with one abstention, of a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza at its April 3 meeting.

The actual passing of the resolution came with a round of applause from the audience but no questions or comments from any of the councilors after James “JP” Kwiecinski, chair of the rules and government relations subcommittee, read the resolution and brought forth the motion. Councilor Owen Zaret abstained from voting.

The vote came after 90 minutes of public comments overwhelmingly in favor of passing the resolution without amendments. Of the more than three dozen people who spoke about the resolution, only a few spoke against it.

Many called the resolution the bare minimum people could do at a time when the violence in Gaza is horrific.

Resident Jeanne Allen said that a ceasefire isn’t enough but it’s a necessary first step to moving forward and ending the starvation that is taking place in Gaza.
Several other residents asked the council to consider how history will look at those who did nothing while a genocide happened in Gaza.

Ian Petty, a resident who spoke remotely, said that the Palestinians in Gaza “are not worried about the wording but about whether they live or die.”

Those who asked the council not to support it spoke mostly of having issues with the wording but said they supported a ceasefire.

“I still think the work isn’t done,” said resident Frank Roberts, who encouraged the council to engage more people in the process because the current resolution doesn’t build consensus.

However, Kwiecinski noted that at this City Council meeting and the Rules and Governmental Relations Subcommittee meeting the overwhelming majority of speakers favored the resolution.

The full resolution can be found on the city of Easthampton website, easthamptonma.gov.

In other agenda items, the council also approved a resolution in support of the Cherist Act which advocates for higher education for all.

The council also voted to move forward with plans to make Clinton Street and Emerald Place one-way streets. Clinton Street would be one way from Lincoln Street to Emerald Place, Emerald Place would be one way from Clinton Street to the southerly border of Lincoln Street.

This move will let the department of public works install curbs to prevent erosion in this area and to open up more pedestrian and bike access. Completion of the project is likely two to three years away.

Tina Lesniak
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