El Paso County Commissioner David Stout of Precinct 2 and City Council Representative Chris Canales of District 8 signed a letter to President Biden, dated January 9, calling for a ceasefire in Gaza:
“We are heartbroken by the violence and bloodshed of the October 7 attacks by Hamas on Israel and by the Israel Defense Forces’ ensuing assault on Gaza. […] and we urge the Biden Administration and all our representatives in Congress to join them in taking immediate action to pursue a durable ceasefire, to secure the release of all hostages, to deliver humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people, and to begin to create the conditions for a political agreement that can end this conflict. […] We unequivocally condemn the targeting, brutalization, and killing of civilians — Palestinian and Israeli — which violates international law and basic human morality. We call for the protection of all civilians, the upholding of international law, and an end to collective punishment. […] As local leaders, we remain steadfast in our defense of the right to free speech and non-violent protest, and we reject attempts to erode these rights. That includes the doxxing and weaponized charges of antisemitism directed at local elected officials who speak out or take nonviolent action on behalf of Palestinians.”
Why does the letter omit any reference to the right to self defense?
Why does the letter not examine the “basic human morality” of Hamas, which murders gays, oppresses women, rapes and murders civilians, outlaws free speech, rejects all proposals for Palestinian statehood, and has not permitted an election since they came to power 18 years ago?
Why does the letter not demand that Hezbollah cease launching missiles at Israel from Lebanon, or that the Houthis in Yemen stop attacking civilian ships in the Red Sea, or that Iran stop arming and funding Hamas and other designated terrorist organizations throughout the region?
Moral equivocation aside, why are Stout and Canales using their official positions to advocate on international issues that have nothing to do with our police and fire departments, road maintenance, and other basic local services?
In so doing, they join Veronica Carbajal, candidate for District 2, who was the first local political figure to venture into Middle East politics in the aftermath of October 7, stating on her Instagram page 12 days later, “If you pay taxes, your money is funding genocide happening in Gaza right now. It’s time to offset that sh*t. Donate to emergency aid for Palestine.”
With all due respect, we urge our local elected leaders to stick to their job descriptions.
If they wish to opine on Israel’s military response to the largest massacre of Jews since World War II, they should do so as private citizens and not as elected officials.