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Will Arlington pass a ceasefire resolution? Mayor says council members will discuss the proposal

Four people sit on a stage at Dar El-Eman Islamic Center. They're looking at Raul Gonzalez, second from the left of those sat, who is speaking and gesturing to the audience. Two moderators stand to the side. There's a crowd in the foreground.
From left to right (seated), Arlington Mayor Jim Ross and council members Raul Gonzalez, Long Pham and Nikkie Hunter answer questions during a teach-in at Dar El-Eman Islamic Center in Arlington on Jan. 21, 2024.

Arlington City Council will discuss a resolution in support of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas militants, Mayor Jim Ross said during a teach-in Sunday evening at Dar El-Eman Islamic Center.

Speakers walked attendees through the toll of the conflict on Palestinians, from Britain’s 1917 Balfour Declaration that pledged to establish “a national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine to the aftermath of Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

Ross and council members Nikkie Hunter, Raul Gonzalez and Long Pham listened to presentations about the history of the conflict and took questions from the audience – mostly about the prospect of a ceasefire resolution.

“Here’s what I promise you: I have the ability to get it in front of (the) council, and we will talk about it,” Ross said to applause from the audience.

If passed, Arlington would join dozens of municipalities across the United States, including Atlanta, Detroit and San Francisco, to issue policy in support, according to a map by the pro-ceasefire group Solidarity Is.

Similar efforts are underway in San Antonio and Dallas, though neither council has voted on a resolution.

Ross and council members did not specify Sunday whether they would vote for a ceasefire resolution, but said they want to support their Muslim and Palestinian constituents and stand up against violence.

“I’m against anything that kills people, whether it’s domestic violence or whatever. The ceasefire needs to happen, obviously. Anywhere throughout the world, it needs to happen,” Gonzalez said.

Mohammed Ayachi, who presented during the teach-in, said he was heartened council members attended with an open mind, even if none indicated which way they would vote.

“We can’t predict the future, but I think given how clear our evidence was and based on the response that we had, I think it’s, you know, kind of like a no-brainer,” Ayachi said.

Ross previously issued a November proclamation with his Muslim and Jewish advisory councils that condemned hateful rhetoric and violence against marginalized communities.

Participants also asked the city to rename a stretch of Mansfield Road after Dar El-Eman Islamic Center, as well as traffic conditions. Ross said those interested in renaming the road should gather petition signatures from residents and business owners who live along the street.

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Kailey Broussard is a reporter for KERA and The Texas Newsroom through Report for America (RFA). Broussard covers the city of Arlington, with a focus on local and county government accountability.