Naperville declines as Batavia joins communities adopting cease-fire resolutions

A day after another suburban community adopted a cease-fire resolution, Naperville City Council members maintained their position that an international issue is not something they should weigh in on.

For the sixth meeting in three months, dozens of residents spoke up at Tuesday’s city council meeting, urging council members to adopt a cease-fire resolution. As they have in the past, residents pointed to the number of people killed in Gaza, the amount of federal tax dollars spent to support Israel, and that a resolution from the council could get more attention from federal representatives.

Tuesday’s meeting also included comments from doctors from MedGlobal, an Illinois-based humanitarian organization that provides health programs around the world, including Gaza.

A cease-fire resolution would “amplify the voices of your constituents” to federal lawmakers, Tammy Abughnaim, a doctor who recently was in Gaza with MedGlobal, told council members.

“They send message to your congressional representatives and the administration that this is what the voters are asking for,” she said.

Supporters for a cease-fire resolution noted other communities, including Batavia, have adopted similar resolutions.

In Batavia on Monday, council members voted 8-4 in favor of a resolution that supports a cease-fire, the release of all hostages, condemns the Hamas attack on Oct. 7, supports humanitarian aid to Gaza and urges the Biden administration to discontinue unconditional support for Israel without guarantees for civilian safety.

The resolution will be sent to U.S. Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin and U.S. Reps. Bill Foster and Raja Krishnamoorthi.

“I think we do have to realize we have a voice,” Batavia Alderman Alan Wolff said, rebuffing claims that a resolution from the city council wouldn’t make a difference. “I don’t know that the city council is going to change that (the war), but I’m willing to say ‘stop.’”

In Naperville, however, concerns continue over the city inserting itself into an international situation.

“I don’t believe people elected us to weigh in on international issues,” Naperville Councilman Josh McBroom said Tuesday.

Despite calls over the last three months to place a resolution on the Naperville city council agenda, council members have declined to do so. In March, Naperville Mayor Scott Wehrli said the council would not be considering a resolution, saying international issues are outside the council’s responsibilities.

Councilman Benny White Tuesday said he has spoken with other council members, and many want to stay within the scope of their duties, though he added that should not dismiss that the council empathizes with residents.

“I don’t know if it’s a council thing or if community members can get together and figure something out,” White told residents at Tuesday’s meeting. “I do want to let you know that I’m listening … there’s still work to be done.”

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