Amherst Town Council asked to support cease-fire in Gaza

The Amherst Town Hall building.

The Amherst Town Hall building. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

By SCOTT MERZBACH

Staff Writer

Published: 02-12-2024 10:42 AM

Modified: 02-12-2024 1:03 PM


AMHERST — The Town Council could vote as early as Feb. 26 on adopting a “Resolution for a Cease-fire in Gaza,” a measure that not only calls for a cease-fire, but the release of hostages and detainees on both sides, ensuring humanitarian aid enters Gaza and an end to unconditional U.S. military aid to the Israeli government.

The resolution, being reviewed by the council's Governance, Organization and Legislation Committee, is sponsored by 240 residents, many organized as Amherst4Ceasefire, and District 2 Councilor Pat De Angelis and At-Large Councilor Ellisha Walker.

“We see this resolution as a community-building initiative, one that allows all Amherst residents to feel safe and to feel heard,” said Josna Rege, an Amherst resident and lead sponsor, at the council’s meeting on Feb. 5.

It follows a resolution the Town Council adopted in October condemning the attack on Israel by Hamas and standing in solidarity with those in Amherst whose family and friends are directly impacted by the crisis in the Middle East.

Should Amherst’s elected officials adopt the resolution, Amherst would join more than 70 other cities and towns with similar appeals, said Dave King, a District 2 resident and early supporter of the resolution.

“Amherst has an opportunity to stand on the right side of history and to stand with members of our own community who are affected by the ongoing violence,” King said.

Rege told councilors that the resolution is respectful to the town and acknowledges feelings of  townspeople, at a time when many people are feeling distressed. Rege said there has been a “distinct chill” that is silencing grief, and people need to know the community stands with them.

Amherst couple Jenny McKenna and Gerry Weiss also endorsed the resolution, with McKenna reading the resolution into the record, and Weiss making a statement about its importance.

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“There is widespread starvation, dehydration and worsening malnutrition and severe physical suffering, due to the bombing and lack of medical care,” Weiss said.

Weiss said he wants the council to proclaim allegiance to humanity for all people and support the innocent people of Gaza.

People interested in signing on as community sponsors of the resolution can access the document at tinyurl.com/SupportAmherst4Ceasefire.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.