Feb 20, 2024 - News

Scoop: Salt Lake City Council to introduce resolution on Israel-Hamas war

Illustration of the Salt Lake City & County Building with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The Salt Lake City Council is poised to discuss a symbolic resolution Tuesday calling for peace as the Israel-Hamas war unfolds.

Why it matters: "An international crisis that is literally thousands of miles away from us is causing our local government function to be impaired. It's causing our communities to fray under distress," council Chair Victoria Petro told Axios Friday.

What's happening: Salt Lake City Council members have deliberated for weeks on whether to introduce a resolution on the war amid mounting pressure from pro-Palestinian demonstrators to call for a ceasefire, Axios has learned.

  • Members worked through Presidents Day weekend to tweak the language of the resolution planned to be introduced during Tuesday's meeting.

The big picture: Approximately 70 U.S. cities have passed ceasefire proclamations as municipal leaders debate whether to weigh in on the international conflict, per Reuters.

By the numbers: A growing segment of U.S. adults, 50%, believe that Israel's military response in Gaza has "gone too far," per an AP/Norc poll released this month, Axios' Ivana Saric reports.

  • That number was 40% in November, the poll found.

Background: Pro-Palestinian advocates have committed to appearing at Salt Lake City Council meetings until a ceasefire resolution is passed.

What they're saying: Petro noted some residents have reported feeling intimidated by pro-Palestinian protesters when they speak on other city matters during public comment.

  • "We can't shame people for coming to the city to deal with the city business," she said.

Zoom in: Council member Alejandro Puy said a disproportionate amount of time and city resources has been spent on the Israel-Hamas conflict compared to local issues impacting the city, such as public safety, homelessness and the ongoing legislative session.

The other side: En Canada, a Salt Lake City resident and advocate who began pushing for a ceasefire resolution in January, told Axios the war is a local issue impacting the community and local leaders aren't listening.

  • "They still think, 'Why is this our job?' Canada said. "The federal government is not listening to us. So, we have to put bottom-up pressure on the federal government."
  • Canada said they'd support the city council passing a more moderate-to-conservative resolution, as long as the genocide of Palestinian lives is condemned.
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