During a press conference at Los Angeles City Hall on Aug. 5, the city’s top leadership expressed solidarity with the State of Israel.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; City Controller Ron Galperin; City Attorney Mike Feuer; City Council President Herb Wesson and President Pre Tempore Mitch Englander; and City Council members Bob Blumenfield; Paul Koretz; Tom LaBonge; and Joe Buscaino appeared at the event, which was held at 9:30 a.m. and kicked off with Blumenfeld – whose office organized the media event – playing the sound of an Israeli air raid siren from a smart-phone app to signify what life is like for Israelis living under Gaza rocket fire.
According to Israel Consul General in Los Angeles David Siegel, who also participated in the event, 4,000 rockets have rained down on Israel since mid-June. Additionally, Israel has sounded off 40,000 air raid sirens during that time, the consul general said.
Israel launched Operation Protective Edge in Gaza on July 8.
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and Israel Consul General in Los Angeles David Siegel. Photo courtesy of the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles.
The event included a moment of silence for Israeli and Palestinian casualties as a result of the current war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Brief remarks from each of the participants followed.
Siegel offered specifics about what he would like to see going forward, on the heels of developments out of Israel in which the IDF has pulled its forces out of Gaza and Israel and Hamas have entered into an Egypt-mediated 72-hour cease fire.
On Tuesday, Siegel spoke of a “fragile cease fire in place as of this morning, Middle East time,” between Israel and Hamas. He said he would like to see “billions of dollars” go into funding the rebuilding of the Gaza Strip but that Israel would need “iron clad guarantees” that Gaza will be demilitarized, Hamas will be disarmed and any money going into Gaza from outside countries would be used for the “people of Gaza [not on tunnels].”
Israel has discovered 32 terror tunnels underneath the Gaza Strip as a result of its latest military effort.
Siegel said the death tolls in Gaza, more than 1,700 Palestinian civilians, are a “product of Hamas using civilians as human shields. Employing terrorism is what Hamas is.”
Blumenfield’s office organized the event, “City Leaders Stand With Israel, For Peace,” as a way to send a message that L.A. stands behind Israel, according to Blumenfield spokesperson Jason Levin.
Levin explained that it was a symbolic ceremony and that the council member does not plan to take any additional action, such as passing a city resolution, toward supporting Israel as of yet.
“There’s no resolution because this was about today taking a moral stand more than it was about any council action,” Levin said. “It’s a complex issue.”