The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa City residents request city council issue statement on supporting Palestine

Speakers packed the council chambers to ask the council to pass a resolution in support of a ceasefire on Tuesday night.
Community members hold up a Palestinian flag in solidarity during public comment at an Iowa City City Council Meeting on Tuesday Dec. 12, 2023.

The Iowa City City Council chambers were packed with community members on Tuesday who are advocating the council to pass a resolution in support of Palestine and a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.

The chambers were standing room only, and around 50 advocates attended and held small Palestine flags and signs reading “Free Palestine.” Some residents spilled out into the lobby outside of the chambers. 

Each of the 20 or so statements made during the hour-long comment session was met with cheers and applause from attendees. No residents at public comment spoke in support of Israel at the meeting and councilors did not make any statements on the comment session, as is typical in council meetings.

Several commenters identified themselves as Palestinian-Americans and shared their personal experiences with the Israeli government in the past. These speakers said family members and friends were often harassed and beaten by Israeli soldiers in Palestine, and Israeli soldiers were often sources of fear in their lives.

Many speakers also condemned the actions of Israel during this conflict, including its use of white phosphorus munitions that were supplied by the U.S. These munitions can cause serious burns when touched and are typically illegal near civilian-populated areas under humanitarian laws, according to the World Health Organization. 

Dan Phillips, a resident of Iowa City who spoke during public comment, said he feels like he plays a part in the war as a tax-paying citizen because of the U.S. government’s military aid to Israel.

“I call upon you to be human and condemn this atrocity and demand a ceasefire and peaceful negotiations,” Phillips said. 

According to a Dec. 9 article from Reuters, over 17,000 Palestinians and around 1,200 Israelis have been killed since the start of the conflict on Oct. 7. These death tolls were cited frequently by speakers at the council meeting.

Commenters pointed out that the council has approved resolutions in support of other countries during times of international conflict in the past. On March 22, 2022, the city council unanimously approved a resolution that supported Ukraine and condemned Russia in the two countries’ conflict.

Additionally, some speakers asked the council to take action in light of several recent arrests of protestors by law enforcement. 

On Dec. 9, police arrested nine pro-Palestine protestors after they chained themselves to the doors of Kinnick Stadium.

Speakers at the meeting claim the Dec. 9 arrests were aggressive and caused unnecessary physical and emotional pain to those who were arrested. 

Hayley Bruce, the public information officer with the University of Iowa Police Department, told The Daily Iowan that as of Monday, no one filed a formal complaint from those involved with the events on Dec. 9. 

“Had the protestors simply chosen to march while allowing access to the facility, they would not have been removed,” she said on Monday. 

Mandi Remington, who ran for the city council this last election cycle and is a member of the city’s Community Police Review Board, also spoke during the public comment session. 

Remington spoke directly to the councilors and said she knows that candidates run for a spot on the council to make an impact in their community, which is why the council should take action on the community’s requests.

“You are not being asked to put your lives on the line, you are not even being asked tonight to make any extreme, systemic policy change,” Remington said. “You are being asked to make a statement. Listen to everybody that is here talking to you as their representatives.”

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About the Contributors
Isabelle Foland
Isabelle Foland, News Editor
Isabelle Foland is a second-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication and minoring in Spanish. She is a second-year news reporter at The Daily Iowan, reporting mainly on Iowa City City Council. She is from Missouri Valley, Iowa and has reported for her hometown paper prior to her time at The DI.
Isabella Tisdale
Isabella Tisdale, Photojournalist
Isabella Tisdale is a photojournalist for The Daily Iowan and is a senior at West High school. In her free time, she stage manages for the theater program at West High. She plans to double major in political science and journalism.