Nelson city council members have voted unanimously in favour of a letter urging an end to the violence in the Israeli-Hamas war.
Council said it has received numerous requests from community members asking them to address the conflict in Gaza. However, their letter doesn’t demand a ceasefire and rather advocates for the immediate end of hostilities on both sides.
“We firmly believe that constructive dialogue and mutual understanding are indispensable elements for any resolution aimed at tranquility,” reads the letter that was endorsed last night
“Acknowledging the intricacies of the situation, including historical and geopolitical factors, we refrain from taking sides in the conflict.” .
The city has been under fire for its stance on the issue since the war broke out in October.
Members of Nelson’s Israeli and Jewish community approached council in October to urge them to take a neutral stance that represents both sides or not make a stance at all.
But in November, members of Nelson’s Palestinian community approached council to criticize the lack of action, urging councillors to make their stance known.
Councillor Rik Logtenberg says he thinks the letter does a great job finding balance in promoting peace for everyone affected by the issue.
“We’re here not to strike a blow, not even a blow for justice. We’re here to promote peace and advocate for peace. That starts with not weighing into the conflict itself and the historical reasons for the conflict that have led to this moment.
“We have to ask ourselves, are we contributing to a calming of the waters? Are we deescalating in our small way the emotions in our city and, in our small way, the emotions in the Middle East? And I think the letter does a great job of doing that.”
Mayor Janice Morrison says the letter’s intent is to spread a message about the importance of compassion and urge a resolution that respects the rights of both Palestinians and Israelis.
She also said the City of Nelson stands by all community members affected.
“We want to work towards a peaceful resolution that respects the rights of Palestinians and Israelis. I think it’s also critical and crucial to recognize that other regions around the world are grappling with conflicts and wars, and I do believe it is the belief of this city council that no more people should be killed or families damaged in this war or any other war.”
She said the letter will be sent to both the federal and provincial government and leaders of the opposition.