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Arlington leaders opt to stay out of Israel-Hamas conflict

Proponent of Middle East cease-fire comes away empty-handed at Feb. 24 meeting

Arlington County Board members on Feb. 24 decided against getting into the foreign-policy arena, turning down a request to issue a resolution calling for a cease-fire in ongoing fighting between Israel and Hamas.

The request came during the board’s public-comment period, and as board members knew of the subject matter in advance, County Board Chairman Libby Garvey was ready with a response.

“Anyone with a heart watching what’s going on finds it terribly distressing,” Garvey said, but “we do not have a vote or any authority on foreign relations.”

Garvey suggested that individuals make their views on the subject known to their elected representatives at the federal level, as she has done.

(In a rare case of County Board members not jumping in to address issues raised by public-comment speakers, none of the other four members had any comment on the request.)

A review of resolutions adopted by the County Board going back to 2007 suggests that wading into the foreign-policy arena would be an unusual step for the body. County Board members did, however, in 2022 adopt a resolution condemning antisemitism nationally and globally.