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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

VIDEO: Stalemate in Gaza Resolution Debate Following 10 Hour Hearing

Posted By on Wed, Jun 16, 2010 at 1:00 PM

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The San Francisco Board of Supervisors' meeting on Tuesday lasted until Wednesday, at last ending this morning at 12:03 AM. Hundreds of members of the public stood for hours in a City Hall corridor for the opportunity to speak for three minutes each on a controversial -- yet nonbinding and ultimately symbolic -- resolution condemning Israel for its role in the fatal May 31 raid on a flotilla of ships heading to Gaza.

After ten hours, the following was accomplished: nothing. Any one member of the Board could delay the issue by sending the resolution to a Board committee, and that's what Supervisor Bevan Dufty did shortly before midnight. The resolution will be heard again sometime next month, if its sponsors wish to continue to subject their colleagues to this kind of dialogue.

So was it all worth it?

For resolution author John Avalos, the Snitch cannot see how: Avalos is chair of the Budget and Finance Committee and has plenty of ten hour meetings over which to preside this month. Condemning the flotilla raid, in which nine people, including an American citizen, were fatally shot in the head in close range may feel like the right to do, but it's certainly not the easy thing to do.

The Richmond City Council similarly punted debate of its own resolution down the road last night.

Board President David Chiu now has to decide which Board committee should hear more debate over the nonbinding resolution, which activist groups like the Jewish Community Relations Council have pledged to fight until it is dead.

"It's terribly one-sided, it's lacking in any depth or understanding of the Middle Eastern situation, it demonstrates blatant disregard or complete ignorance of the hostile region and hostile neigborhood in which Israel lives, and the staggering despair to which the Palestinians are subjected at the hands of Hamas," said Abigaail Michelson Porth, the JCRC's associate director, who was just getting warmed up.

For Porth, the Israeli blockade of the Gaza strip is an ugly necessity caused by Hamas and other Islamist extremists. The Israeli Defense Forces' actions weren't pretty, but nonetheless justified. Either way, what business is it of the Board's?

"The worst thing that [the Board of Supervisors] could do is unnecessarily inflame an already tense situation," she added. "And that's exactly what happened in chambers."

So there's one sect of people who will not rest until supervisors abandon the resolution. And, predictably, there is another who think it's just fine -- and, moreover, perfectly appropriate.

"It's taboo for politicians to talk about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza," said Lily Haskell of the Arab Resource Center. "The supervisors took a courageous stand."

The Snitch
feels somewhat hopelessly caught in the middle of all this and will not, under any circumstances, get involved other than to say it appears any compromise or reconciliation between the sides involved on this issue will be hard-won. Blessed are the peacemakers; they have their hands full on this one.

Follow us on Twitter at @TheSnitchSF and @SFWeekly

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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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