LOS ANGELES — As a three-day ceasefire between Israel and Hamas took hold this week, Los Angeles City leaders came together in council chambers on Tuesday morning in a show of solidarity for Israel.
Holding white carnations, the leaders reiterated Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas during the month-long rocket bombardment into the country.
Organized by Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfeld, Los Angeles City Hall chamber business was put on hold for a moment’s silence in memory of all those who have died over the past four weeks.
Among those that took part in the event were Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Attorney Mike Feuer, City Controller Ron Galperin, City Council President Herb Wesson, City Council President Pre Tempore Mitch Englander, Assistant City Council President Pro Tempore Tom LaBonge, as well as Councilmembers Joe Buscaino and Paul Koretz.
Said Mayor Garcetti, “Israel is by far our strongest ally in a tumultuous region. One that we stand by in its right to meet its obligation to protect its citizens. Our prayer today is that this ceasefire holds so that we have an opportunity to create a lasting peace.”
In addition to the moment’s silence, Blumenfeld also played a recording of the Israeli air raid siren, to give those in the chambers a sense of what it feels like for Israelis to have to constantly run into bomb shelters every time Hamas rockets are launched into Israel.
Galperin, who recently returned from a trip to Israel said, “When you experience the sirens, you understand a little bit what it’s like to live under that constant threat of terror.”
Blumenfeld emphasized in his remarks that city officials were keenly aware of the pain suffered by Palestinian civilians in Gaza. But, he said, “We stand with Israel against a Hamas regime that terrorizes Israelis from the skies and now, from beneath the ground. That regime prioritizes hatred and destruction over cooperation and prosperity for the Palestinian people, and believes that peace is counter to its aim of total destruction of the State of Israel.”
He added, “Until Hamas militants lay down their arms and seek peace, as Israelis and Palestinians have for the last two decades, there can be no quiet.”
Israel Consul General in Los Angeles David Siegel was invited to speak in chambers and said, “The people of Israel share the hope of all Angelenos that an end to Hamas’ terrorism, by disarming this terrorist organization, will allow Israelis and Palestinians to live side by side in peace.”
And Councilmember Tom LaBonge summed up the connection between Israel and Los Angeles. “We’re the City of Angels,” he said. “We want the angels of peace to come over Israel, to come over the Gaza strip.”