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San Francisco Supervisors Approve Gaza Cease-Fire Resolution

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San Francisco Supervisor Dean Preston (in suit and tie) speaks to supporters, alongside Supervisor Hillary Ronen, at City Hall in San Francisco on Jan. 9, 2024, after the full Board of Supervisors approved a Gaza cease-fire resolution that the two co-sponsored.  (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

San Francisco supervisors on Tuesday officially called for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, making the city among the largest in the country to pass such a resolution.

Approved by a vote of 8–3, the resolution also demands the release of all hostages and an increase in humanitarian aid to Gaza and condemns antisemitic, anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic rhetoric and attacks.

“Our actions today take a stand on this issue, and it will help push our government to change its actions,” Supervisor Hillary Ronen, a co-sponsor of the resolution, said at Tuesday’s packed Board of Supervisors meeting. “Today is one of those days where it feels like San Francisco is still here.”

Hoping to build consensus around the vote, board President Aaron Peskin introduced a last-minute amendment to the resolution, including a statement explicitly condemning attacks by both Hamas and Israel and urging the Biden administration to similarly call for a cease-fire. The amendment, which Peskin read aloud at the meeting, also calls for new leadership in Israel and Gaza and urges the international community to investigate and hold both governments accountable for potential war crimes, including gender-based violence.

Although successfully incorporated into the original resolution, Peskin’s additions were not enough to gain the board’s unanimous approval. Supervisors Matt Dorsey, Catherine Stefani and Rafael Mandelman voted against the final resolution, arguing it didn’t adequately condemn Hamas’ actions and fell short of identifying the group as a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization.

“I don’t know how you have a cease-fire with a terrorist organization — they don’t adhere to the rules of war,” Stefani said at Tuesday’s meeting. “I cannot sign for a resolution that won’t, at a minimum, call for the removal of Hamas.”


Despite the lack of unanimity, Supervisor Dean Preston, who introduced the original three-page resolution last month, said its passage, while largely symbolic, was nonetheless momentous.

“This crisis has directly affected our constituents, and we should be doing everything we can to support and amplify their calls for peace,” he said in a press release shortly after the vote.

In approving the resolution, San Francisco joins dozens of other U.S cities, including Richmond and Oakland, that have called for a cease-fire in Gaza, where a relentless barrage of Israeli air strikes and ground combat operations over the last three months have killed more than 23,000 Palestinians and displaced nearly 85% of the population, according to the Gazan authorities.

Israel launched its military campaign in Gaza shortly after Hamas fighters attacked southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing an estimated 1,200 people, according to Israeli authorities.

Much like how it played out in both East Bay cities, the debate over the issue in San Francisco has been contentious and drawn national attention, with some opponents decrying the effort as inherently antisemitic — even though Preston and Ronen, its co-sponsors, are both Jewish.

Dozens of community members who filled the chamber on Tuesday stood and cheered after the resolution passed, overshadowing a smaller group of dissenters, who had called for more support for Jewish and Israeli communities and an explicit condemnation of Hamas.

“This is the most gut-wrenching issue I have faced on the Board of Supervisors,” Supervisor Ahsha Safaí, who is Iranian-American and the only member of the board born in the Middle East, said at Tuesday’s meeting. “I have never received more calls, emails, text messages, people grabbing me wherever I am where people will tell me how they feel about this moment.”

“I have thought about nothing more since Oct. 7,” Safaí said. “This resolution will allow some people in our communities to feel heard and seen for the first time. I hope this does not raise additional fear and anxiety in the community as well.”

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