‘Ceasefire’ call rings out in Evergreen State
Palestinians line up for free food distribution during the ongoing Israeli air and ground offensive in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. | Hatem Ali/AP

BELLINGHAM, WA—The Washington State Democratic Party Central Committee meeting in Bellingham, has approved an “urgent” resolution condemning the U.S. termination of funding for UN relief in Gaza “leaving millions at further risk in the greatest humanitarian catastrophe of the past decade.”

The resolution condemned Hamas’ terrorist attack of Oct. 7 2023 in which 1,200 Israelis were killed but denounced Israel’s invasion of Gaza as a “siege….depriving 2.3 million Palestinians of water, food, shelter, electricity, fuel, access to medical care, transportation and internet.”

The resolution charges that at least 26,000 Gaza residents have died, “approximately two-thirds of whom are women and children.”

The resolution called on President Biden to restore funding to the UN’s humanitarian relief and support a ceasefire by Israel and Hamas in both Gaza and Israel.

The main sponsor of the resolution was Sharon Abreu, a member of the Washington Democratic Party Central Committee representing San Juan County. “It was written by a small group of people,” Abreu, who contributed a bit to the resolution, told the People’s World in a brief phone interview from her home on Orcas Island. “It had to be re-written to meet the guidelines of an ‘urgent resolution.’ As a Jewish member, I wanted to sponsor it.”

She praised other Central Committee members, especially Ellen Menshew of Port Angeles for working to gather the 50 signatures of Central Committee members needed to qualify the resolution as “urgent,” thus sidestepping the requirement that resolutions be submitted a month in advance.

“About 135 Central Committee members were present and the resolution passed with a vote of 75:54. Washington State became the fifth state in which Democrats broke with President Biden in approving a “ceasefire in Gaza” resolution, joining Texas, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Arizona.”

Shasti Conrad, Chair of the Washington State Democratic Party, the first Asian-American woman elected to that office, ruled that the ceasefire resolution was in order and met the criteria for “urgent” since 50 members had signed the petition.

Says action is appropriate

Ellen Menshew spoke during debate on the resolution. She answered the argument of some that it was inappropriate for the Central Committee to vote on the Gaza ceasefire issue and that people back home were excluded from the discussion.

She explained to this reporter, “I told them we were elected to be here. We represent the people back home. We have a responsibility to speak out. This is a humanitarian issue. What kind of Party are we if we do not want to provide humanitarian aid? It is an atrocity to me.”

The resolution declares, “The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is the primary UN Agency providing humanitarian aid in Palestine and is funded by the US and other UN member states. UNRWA employs 1,300 or more staff on the ground in Palestine, tasked with administering aid to the 1.9 million displaced people (a majority sheltering at UNRWA facilities).

“…..UNRWA shelters have been routinely targeted by direct fire, including a multi-day siege beginning on January 24, 2024, of UNRWA Youngis Training College which houses 43,000 internally displaced people killing at least 13 and injuring 56. …..Despite enduring over 150 casualties among UNRWA staff, as of January 25, 2024, the agency has persevered and distributed flour to 309,779 families, vaccinated over 13,700 children…..recorded 9,336 patient visits at UNRWA health facilities, and attended to 76,879 patients by UNRWA teams….”

The resolution also answers President Biden’s pretext for terminating the assistance to UNRWA. Biden cited allegations against 12 UNRWA staff out of the nearly 2,000 doctors, health care, and other aid workers.

The UN, the resolution states, immediately terminated the 12 individuals “and is taking the allegations very seriously.” But the US cutoff of aid has triggered a chain of additional terminations by UK, Australia, Canada and Italy.”

“Therefore be it resolved that the Washington State Democratic Central Committee condemns both the attack on October 7 2023 by Hamas, the Israeli military’s disproportionate response on the 2.3 million Palestinian people living in Gaza….and urgently opposes the U.S. pulling funding from the UNRWA….The Washington State Democratic Party supports a ceasefire to immediately ease the suffering of 1.9 million displaced people being cared for by the UNRWA and strongly urges the U.S. government to continue funding the UNRWA…..Washington State Democratic Central Committee affirms our commitment to combat anti-semitism, Islamaphobia, and anti-Palestinian/anti-Arab bigotry, our support for the people of both Israel and Palestine to live in peace and security…..”

Port Townsend City Council voted unanimously on Jan. 22 for a resolution calling on President Biden to support a “ceasefire in Gaza” where an estimated 30,000 Palestinians have died, two-thirds of them women and children, from Israeli bombs and missiles.

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Tim Wheeler
Tim Wheeler

Tim Wheeler has written over 10,000 news reports, exposés, op-eds, and commentaries in his half-century as a journalist for the Worker, Daily World, and People’s World. Tim also served as editor of the People’s Weekly World newspaper.  His book News for the 99% is a selection of his writings over the last 50 years representing a history of the nation and the world from a working-class point of view. After residing in Baltimore for many years, Tim now lives in Sequim, Wash.