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Valley News – Hanover voters consider ceasefire in Gaza after arrests of demonstrators in Dartmouth

HANOVER — Voters will consider a resolution at Tuesday’s city council meeting calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and the West Bank and an end to U.S. military aid to Israel.

The meeting comes in the wake of the recent arrests of protesters at Dartmouth College, which supporters of the resolution say they consider a separate matter.

Voters will consider the requested order article at the in-person business meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. in the Hanover High School gymnasium.

The article asks voters in Hanover to support “an immediate and permanent ceasefire” between Israel and Hamas, and to urge the US government to “immediately end US arms shipments and military aid the Israeli government and use its significant influence to ensure the safe delivery of food and medical supplies to Gaza.”

The resolution, and others like it, is a way for municipalities to make their collective voices heard to elected national leaders, said Sharon Racusin of Hanover, who filed the petition, signed by 116 city residents, asking for the article to be considered for the resolution at the city council meeting. If voters were to pass the resolution, the city would send a copy of the resolution to the congressional delegation and to the Biden administration.

Similar ceasefire resolutions have already been passed in Thetford, by voters at the March council meeting, and by the Lebanon City Council, which approved a written draft on April 3 by a 5-4 vote.

Racusin said she does not want to confuse a conversation about the resolution with the May 1 protest at Dartmouth College, which resulted in the arrest of 89 students, staff, faculty and community members.

“We don’t want to distract from the resolution,” Racusin said in a telephone interview. “What happened at Dartmouth Green will be an ongoing issue and there is plenty of information (elsewhere) about what is going on there.”

Selectboard Chairman Athos Rassias said in an email that the board will not discuss the campus arrests during the meeting, although the moderator will determine what public comments are allowed.

Town Moderator Jeremy Eggleton said public comments about the May 1 protest will be allowed “within reason” at the town meeting.

“If someone makes an isolated, stray comment, would I put the hammer down? No,” Eggleton said in a telephone interview. “But if six or seven people make (similar) comments, or if it’s almost 11 p.m., I’ll probably say it’s time to continue with the meeting.”

On May 1, Hanover police, accompanied by New Hampshire State Police and other law enforcement agencies, responded to a protest encampment on the green where a group of pro-Palestinian demonstrators had gathered. Protesters called on the council to divest companies that support the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

The war between Israel and Hamas, now in its seventh month, has killed more than 34,800 Palestinians and 1,410 Israelis and displaced 1.7 million people since the conflict began on October 7, according to the United Nations.

Nearly all of the 89 people arrested in Hanover on May 1 were charged with criminal trespass based on a complaint from the university, Hanover Police Chief Charlie Dennis said in an email last week. The charges against two student journalists have now been dropped.

Dennis, as well as all city department heads, will attend the in-person meeting, City Manager Alex Torpey said.

A regular Selectboard meeting would be a more appropriate forum than the Town Meeting to discuss an issue like the campus arrests, Eggleton said. The city council meeting is specifically intended to vote on the warrant articles.

While the in-person meeting does not have an open forum to discuss topics not covered by the order, someone can comment on a separate but related topic during the discussion of an article – such as bringing up the arrests of protesters during the resolution about the ceasefire. discussion, Eggleton said.

The final article on the order gives attendees the opportunity to bring up other city business, although motions filed during that time are not legally binding because they are not notified, Eggleton said.

“The moderator’s job is to serve two dual and sometimes competing purposes: getting the city’s business moving and getting people talking about it,” Eggleton said. “It is my practice to make sure that every article gets credit, in the hope that people feel like their point of view has been made public – whether by themselves or someone else.”

The town meeting will be held on Tuesday in the Hanover High School gymnasium. Voting for voting will take place in the gymnasium from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The in-person meeting at 7 p.m. will include votes on 17 warrant articles. In addition to the ceasefire resolution, voters will be asked to consider a primary operating budget of $31 million, as well as $4.5 million in separate items for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Patrick Adrian can be reached at [email protected] or 603-727-3216.