May 8, 2024 - News

Doral becomes first city in South Florida to call for "end to all hostilities" in Gaza

A group of pro-Palestine demonstrators during Art Basel.

Protesters from the South Florida Coalition for Palestine call for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war at Art Basel Miami Beach. Photo: Dave Benett/Jed Cullen via Getty Images

The city of Doral on Wednesday became the first municipality in South Florida to demand "an immediate and permanent end to all hostilities" in Israel and Gaza.

Why it matters: Despite the motion's exclusion of the word ceasefire, advocates say it offers hope to residents eager to see an end to the conflict and could serve as an example for other local governments to follow.

The big picture: Wednesday's decision comes after most South Florida municipalities — including Doral — espoused their support for Israel's right to defend itself.

  • Jalal "Jay" Shehadeh, who helped organize the resolution, told the council it is not intended to impact the city's "prior commitment to Israel's ability to defend itself" and stressed it was directed at ending hostilities for all.

Friction point: Despite sponsoring the resolution, Mayor Christi Fraga said it was not a call for a ceasefire. Instead, she argued, it was about "peace and taking a stand on innocent life."

The other side: "The term isn't used in the resolution itself, but it calls for an end to all hostilities in a permanent way," Shehadeh told Axios.

  • "I perceive it to be a ceasefire resolution. If she prefers to see it in a different light, we ultimately rest on the language in the resolution," he said.

Between the lines: Zohra Mehdi Khorashi, an advocate for Palestinian liberation who helped craft the resolution, told Axios the word ceasefire wasn't used because "the term is so political and controversial."

  • Khorashi, an attorney and Doral resident, said the word is controversial because "one side feels that you're basically telling them that they don't have a right to defend themselves."
  • "But that's not what we're saying," said Khorashi, who praised Fraga for sponsoring the measure. "We're asking for the [end] of the killing to preserve innocent civilian life."

Bottom line: "We're incredibly excited about this," Shehadeh told Axios. "We're appreciative of the city of Doral, and we're looking to other cities to do the same [and to] be brave."

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