canada africa partner reservation Hawaii is the first US state to adopt a ceasefire resolution in Gaza

Hawaii is the first US state to adopt a ceasefire resolution in Gaza

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Hawaii has become the first state lawmaker to call for a permanent and immediate ceasefire in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

Known as the Hawaii Ceasefire Resolution, the state’s House and Senate approved the measure last week. The declaration is not law and does not require Governor Josh Green’s signature.

According to the resolution, Aloha State lawmakers demand that President Joe Biden’s administration “facilitate the de-escalation of hostilities to end the current violence, and immediately direct and facilitate the access of humanitarian assistance to Gaza, including fuel, food, water and emergency aid.” medical supplies and begin negotiations for lasting peace.”

Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7 left 1,200 people dead and 253 taken hostage, according to Israeli figures. Israel’s subsequent military attacks on Hamas-ruled Gaza have left more than 34,000 dead, according to the local health ministry. This has displaced almost the entire country’s 2.3 million residents, caused widespread hunger and led to accusations of genocide, which Israel denies.

Despite the resolution, tensions among local activists remain high, and it remains unclear whether the symbolic resolution will lead to actual change.

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Hawaii’s Jewish community is at odds with the resolution

While most public testimony supported the bill, several dozen advocates of Hawaii’s Jewish community expressed concern that a ceasefire would not guarantee lasting peace in the region.

Nicky Watts, president of the Jewish Community Relations Board of Hawaii, told USA Today that she supports a two-state solution but believes it will remain elusive until Hamas is eliminated.

“The idea that Israel should abandon its military mission to remove Hamas based on the idea that Israel is the original aggressor (is not true), Watts added. “Two months ago we had a ceasefire, and it was broken by Hamas. There was a ceasefire in place when October 7 happened, and it was broken by Hamas.”

Watts also said it is inappropriate for a state legislature to pass a resolution to influence U.S. foreign policy.

“Our communities across the country are allowed to become radicalized. And it’s happening in our universities, and it’s happening now in our legislation,” Watts said. “And the only people who get hurt when the states touch this issue are the locals.”

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Hawaii’s Muslim Community: The resolution sends a strong message

Hakim Ouansafi, volunteer chairman of the Muslim Association of Hawaii, praised the state Legislature for approving it.

“I strongly believe that the Hawaii State Resolution has enormous potential to influence not only our state’s congressional delegation, but also the Biden administration,” Ouansafi told USA Today. “While some may view them as merely symbolic gestures, I see them as powerful tools to advance our state’s interests and priorities on the national stage.”

Ouansafi did acknowledge that peace will remain elusive unless all the problems in the region are addressed. “While a ceasefire in Gaza is undoubtedly a crucial step towards peace in the region, it must be accompanied by efforts to address the root causes of the conflict,” Ousansafi said.

Tensions remain high

A local activist group known as “Hawaii for Palestine” announced upcoming rallies and classes for Palestine at the University of Hawaii on Thursday. They also demanded that the university disclose all its assets, withdraw funds from institutions related to Israel, and boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions.

Meanwhile, Watts told USA Today that Jewish activists are lobbying the state government to make Holocaust education mandatory in Hawaii’s public schools. Rep. Luke Evslin (D) introduced a bill, but House education chairman Rep. Justin Woodson (D), did not take over.

“We’re waiting for after the legislative session,” Watts said. “He (Woodson) is going to help me discuss Holocaust education with the Department of Education, which is how he thinks it should actually be handled.”

Jeremy Yurow is a political journalist based in Hawaii for the USA TODAY Network. You can reach him at [email protected] or at X, formerly Twitter @JeremyYurow.