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Woodbury Not Alone in Condemning Israel-Hamas War

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STATEWIDE – Southern Vermont for Palestine and the Vermont Peace/Antiwar Coalition had urged Vermonters to introduce resolutions calling for a cease-fire.

At least 11 Vermont municipalities passed nonbinding resolutions on Town Meeting Day condemning the Israel-Hamas war.

While each municipality adopted its own version, according to Dan DeWalt, a member of Southern Vermont for Palestine, which helped organize the effort, “the thread that ran through them all is what is happening in Gaza is happening with our support and it’s immoral, illegal and it has to stop.”

The following municipalities passed nonbinding resolutions opposing the war, according to town clerks and local media reports: Bradford, Dummerston, Marshfield, Newfane, Putney, Richmond, Sharon, Shelburne, Thetford, West Windsor and Woodbury.

Residents of Guilford, Tunbridge, Calais and Randolph also brought up calls for a cease-fire. In Guilford and Tunbridge, the issue was met with a show of support, either vocal or by a show of hands, while in Calais and Randolph the statements were not further commented on or picked up for a vote, according to those towns’ respective clerks.

About a week and a half before Town Meeting Day, Southern Vermont for Palestine and the Vermont Peace/Antiwar Coalition had urged Vermonters to introduce resolutions supporting a cease-fire during the “other business” portions of their communities’ town meetings.

“We would have organized this months ahead, but we couldn’t expect the situation, you know, in Gaza to be continuing as unrelenting,” said Duncan Nichols, one of the coalition’s leaders.

Given that the resolutions are nonbinding, the towns are not required to take any action. However, both DeWalt and Nichols said they aim to get the resolutions to President Biden by way of Vermont’s congressional delegation.

“I don’t think anyone’s under the illusion that President Biden, getting a letter from Newfane Vermont … is going to change his policy,” DeWalt said. But, referring to the resolutions as a “drop in a bucket,” he made the case that, combined with weekly marches and actions in other states, such efforts will eventually result in a “full and overflowing” bucket to the point where “our leaders can’t ignore it.”

Nearly five months have passed since Hamas’ terrorist attack on Israel led to the latter’s invasion of Gaza. On Oct. 7 around 1,200 Israelis were killed and 250 taken hostage in the attack. Since then, more than 30,000 Gazans have been killed in Israel’s ground invasion, according to Gaza’s health ministry, many of them women and children.

According to DeWalt, the topic brought a lot more young people out to town meeting than usual.

That was the case in Guilford, where Joel Eisenkramer, who had never attended a town meeting before, introduced such a resolution.

“Bringing up a resolution that would say that my town calls for a permanent cease-fire in Gaza was at the forefront of my mind because the issue is all consuming to me,” Eisenkramer said in a statement. “It was a relief to know that despite the media’s constant efforts to dehumanize and disparage the Palestinian cause for freedom and justice, my neighbors still supported humanity.”

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