Dear Editor,

On January 3rd, a ceasefire resolution to stop the bombing in Gaza and Israel, put forth by Councilor Pious Ali, was passed unanimously by the council. I am one of the many supporters of this resolution to end the constant bombing that we have seen for over 87 days, killing over 22,185 civilians, with more than 9,100 of them being children. During public comment, one person asked, is it Portland’s place to take a stand on a war in another country?

Since the occupying state of Israel was created in 1948, the US has sent a blank check to their government, solidifying an ally in the middle east. This has totalled over $130 billion in bilateral assistance. According to the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, Mainers, with our tax dollars, pay an estimated $11,670,145 yearly to fund Israel’s weapons. Portland in particular pays an estimated $1,142,847. Those same weapons are killing and injuring thousands of innocent lives. With that money, we could be working towards our affordable housing goals, creating more programs and opportunities to get our unhoused neighbors off the streets, supporting our teachers and students with a more robust school budget, and investing in sustainable futures.

Maine also makes weapons and ships for Israel. General Dynamics is the fourth largest weapon manufacturer in the world, and has a home right in Saco, Maine. They’re seeing increased profits off of the war on Palestinian civilians. Bath Iron Works, a subsidiary of General Dynamics, is also making warships that deliver the nuclear weapons that serve the US military-imperialist interests in Israel.

So, yes. It is our place as Mainers, as Portlanders, to speak up when we see atrocities happening, regardless of if it is in the United State or not. We are connected to this more than most people know.

I believe passing this resolution should be our first step towards the long term goal of ending our aid and funding the zionist project of Israel.

– Sampson Spadafore