Updated May 16, 2024 - News

Call for end to Gaza hostilities was "naive," embattled Doral mayor says

Illustration of the flags of Israel and Palestine over a divided blue and green background.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

One week after the city of Doral became the first South Florida municipality to call for "an immediate and permanent end to all hostilities" in Israel and Gaza, its mayor reversed course, calling the action "well-intended" but "naive" and "fundamentally flawed."

  • In the lead up to Thursday's about-face, Mayor Christi Fraga said she had met with local leaders and decided she needed "to take immediate corrective action and remedy" the resolution.

Why it matters: Fraga has come under political fire — including from Gov. Ron DeSantis — for sponsoring the May 8 resolution, which some interpreted as calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, despite the motion's exclusion of the word.

Driving the news: Flanked by representatives from the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, Miami-Dade County GOP chair Rep. Alex Rizzo and Miami Beach Commissioner David Suarez during a news conference Thursday, Fraga called on the council to support an entirely new resolution at its next meeting.

  • She apologized for "the turmoil [the first resolution] has caused in our city and state and the hurt it may have caused many Jewish and Israeli members of our community."

The fine print: Instead of calling for an "immediate end to the hostilities in Israel, Gaza and Occupied Palestinian Territories," the new resolution says that the "Hamas terrorist organization must be defeated in order for there to be peace and security."

  • The new resolution "commends the extraordinary measures Israel has taken to minimize casualties" and recognizes Israel's right to defend itself.
  • It also calls on the Biden administration to "immediately transfer all Congressionally approved military aid to Israel, thereby safeguard[ing] the security and stability of the region."

The new resolution makes no mention of the need to allow for humanitarian assistance and the restoration of food, water and electricity in Gaza or for the "protection and security of all innocent civilians," which were among the calls included in the May 8 resolution.

  • Fraga thanked Israel's Consul General Maor Elbaz-Starinsky, Suarez, the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and others that helped her "arrive at this corrective."

What they're saying: "This isn't reflective of the community, given the initial resolution was revised and looked over by the city of Doral rabbi and pastor," Zohra Mehdi Khorashi, an advocate for Palestinian liberation who helped craft the resolution, told Axios Thursday.

  • Khorashi said two issues could be at play: Some Israelis may be offended by the resolution's language, "given they don't recognize the state of Palestine," but also that "some members of the council may be taking advantage of the opportunity to advance their own political agenda."
  • Khorashi also said the new resolution was crafted with no involvement from the Muslim community.

The intrigue: Despite the resolution passing unanimously, three Doral city council members have since come out against it, according to the Floridian, a conservative blog whose publisher had criticized the original resolution.

Case in point: At the May 8 meeting, Councilwoman Maureen Porras said "the city is in a good position to lead."

  • She acknowledged the resolution was the first local call for a ceasefire, but said it wouldn't undermine the council's previous commitment to support Israel.
  • But in a statement to the Floridian, Porras said she didn't think the resolution was something the council should be supporting.

Bottom line: "Everyone had access to look at the resolution and read it," Fraga told Axios Thursday. "It would be irresponsible to say [council members are] not reviewing the things that come before them for a vote."

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