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Asia Pacific Report

The Pacific state of Hawai’i’s House of Representatives has joined the state’s Senate in calling for a ceasefire in Israel’s war on Gaza, becoming the first state to pass such a resolution, reports Hawaii News Now.

In March, the Senate passed a ceasefire resolution with a 24–1 vote, and now the House has passed it on a 48–3 vote last Friday.

However, although the lawmakers are the first to pass a ceasefire resolution, reports have quoted the state legislature’s Public Access Room as saying it “does not have the force and effect of law”.

Nor does it need a signature from the governor.

According to the resolution, the lawmakers are pushing for President Joe Biden’s administration to call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire.

The Hawai’i lawmakers are also demanding that the administration “facilitate the de-escalation of hostilities to end the current violence, promptly send and facilitate the entry of humanitarian assistance into Gaza, including fuel, food, water, and medical supplies, and begin negotiations for lasting peace.”

President Biden has previously called for a ceasefire in Gaza, but there did not appear to be a contingency plan should negotiations seeking a ceasefire fail, according to The Washington Post.

Since Israel’s war on Gaza began on October 7, more than 34,000 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip by strikes from Israel, and 77,143 have been wounded.

The Hawai'i vote for Gaza round two
The Hawai’i vote for Gaza round two . . . the House of Representatives voted for a ceasefire 48-3 last Friday. Hawaii News Now screenshot APR

US overthrew Hawai’ian kingdom
Tensions in the region go to at least the Nakba in 1948 when an estimated 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their land and illegal Israeli settlements began.

Given Hawai’i’s history of American businessmen overthrowing the indigenous Hawai’ian kingdom with the support of US military forces in 1893, pro-Palestinian advocates have pointed out that Hawai’i has a key connection to the conflict in Gaza.

Fatima Abed, founder of Rise for Palestine, is both Palestinian and Puerto Rican, and has a family member who is based in Gaza.

She told The Huffington Post: “People in Hawai’i, especially Native Hawai’ians, are determined on this issue because it’s very jarring to know that our tax dollars are going to fund the genocide of another colonised people while, here at home, our government budgets aren’t covering the basic needs of the people.”

Abed said that the island of Lahaina and its people had not been sufficiently cared for after the wildfires last August.

“Native Hawai’ians across the state have been underserved for decades. The people of Hawai’i see that money being sent overseas to hurt people instead of helping here, and it makes no sense.

“From the river to the sea, all of our people will be free.”

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