Durham and Triangle political leaders face mounting pressure to take stance on Israel-Hamas war

Government leaders in the Triangle are hesitant to take a stance on the Israel-Hamas war, as some residents push for a cease-fire while others argue that the issue is out of the politicians’ scope. 

Since Carrboro’s Town Council voted 4-3 to pass a cease-fire resolution in November, other towns in the Triangle have seen mounting pressure from their citizens to follow suit. 

The Durham City Council addressed the topic in a meeting early January, when multiple Jewish residents explained that a cease-fire resolution would make them feel safer. Proponents of the resolution were in the majority, with one speaker arguing that leaders had a “moral, legal and ethical duty to not remain silent.”

Some groups have gone so far as to take matters into their own hands. Local labor union UE 150 drafted a resolution on behalf of the City Council, to which Mayor Leonardo Williams dissented, stating that he would not consider a resolution unless it was written directly by council members. 

However, others believe that the violence in Gaza is not the responsibility of the governmental body. 

“This petition to get involved in international matters is completely out of the scope of the practice of this governmental body,” one speaker at the Jan. 4 council meeting said. 

Critics of a cease-fire resolution also argue that their leaders’ attention should focus on more pressing local issues, such as funds for the $25 minimum wage for city workers and the widely successful HEART program, Durham’s primary crisis response safety measurement. 

Supporters of the cease-fire refuted the argument for refraining from foreign engagement by citing Durham’s role in apartheid resolution during the 1980s, according to IndyWeek. 

Williams has said that advocacy was strong from both opposing stances and asked his community for more time to contemplate and respond. He stated that a small group of supporters from either side was created to advise him and other Durham government leaders on the subject. 

Durham isn’t the only city in North Carolina restless with indecision. A Raleigh City Council meeting on Jan. 17 saw nearly 200 people attend, most of whom called for a cease-fire, and four Raleigh City Council members signed a letter calling for a national cease-fire resolution. 

About 100 citizens demanding a cease-fire crowded Raleigh’s East Hargett Street in a standoff against police Sunday. The movement was organized by 10 human rights organizations that are pushing for a resolution by Raleigh City Council. 

Andrew Bae profile
Andrew Bae | Associate News Editor

Andrew Bae is a Trinity sophomore and an associate news editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.


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