Ethan Wolin, Contributing Photographer

The president of the Board of Alders plans to let alders “at some point” consider a resolution calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war, a move which vocal protestors urged at a full board meeting on Tuesday evening.

The board received the proposal for a ceasefire resolution in late November but has yet to act on it. Board president Tyisha Walker-Myers told the News that she intends to send the proposal to committee but is still considering which committee should handle it. She declined to set a timeline for her decision.

“I plan to assign every item that comes to the Board of Alders at some point,” Walker-Myers, who represents Ward 23, said in a brief interview. “When I’m figuring out where it goes, it sits in the queue.”

Calls for a ceasefire in the war threaten to divide the board, whose 30 Democrats are in unanimous agreement on most votes. President Joe Biden and most Democrats in Congress have not pushed for a ceasefire. 

But objectors to the ongoing war, including some Yale students and New Haveners, have advocated for one after Israel began to bombard Gaza in response to the Oct. 7 attacks, in which Hamas killed around 1,200 people and abducted 250, according to Israel’s Foreign Ministry. Since then, Israel has killed 24,000 people in Gaza, according to Palestinian authorities.

The ceasefire resolution reached the Board of Alders on Nov. 28, Chloe Miller LAW ’25 previously told the News. It calls for an “immediate and permanent ceasefire, the release of all hostages including Palestinians arbitrarily detained by Israel, the unrestricted entry of humanitarian assistance into Gaza” and other demands.

As Ward 16 Alder José Crespo emphasized unity in his invocation to begin Tuesday’s meeting, about two dozen pro-Palestine protesters, many wearing keffiyehs and one holding a large Palestinian flag, entered the chamber and filed into several rows.

After a short 15-minute meeting in which alders dealt with routine business, Walker-Myers called a voice vote to adjourn. Meanwhile, protesters stood up and chanted, “Ceasefire now” and “Stop the stalling.”

“Board of Alders, we interrupt your meeting to send the message that your constituents support a ceasefire of the U.S.-funded massacre of Palestinians by the Israeli state,” an unidentified protester shouted. “New Haven should join the many cities across the U.S. that have condemned the brutal killing of tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza.”

The alders stood up and began collecting their things as the protesters continued their chants, producing an unusual scene in the typically calm Aldermanic Chambers.

Ward 27 Alder Richard Furlow, the majority leader, confronted two departing protesters, whom the News could not identify, suggesting they talk to alders individually instead of disrupting meetings. The protesters responded by accusing alders of not being willing to have a dialogue and being “closed off.”

“Just because I don’t agree doesn’t mean I’m closed. If I was closed, I would have walked away at your first sign of disrespect,” Furlow responded. “Things happen at the table, not at protests.” 

Two protesters expressed frustration with the lack of immediate action by the Board of Alders on the resolution, citing Bridgeport, where the city council approved a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza on Jan. 2. 

Furlow responded that New Haven has a different legislative process and called a resolution “another piece of conversation,” reiterating his call to continue the dialogue.

One protester stressed the urgency of the resolution, with the war’s continuing human toll. The Associated Press reported last week that Israel’s military campaign in Gaza is among the deadliest in recent history.

“Every day that New Haven doesn’t take a moral stance on this issue and doesn’t call for disinvestment and doesn’t call for an immediate ceasefire,” she said, “it just feels like our hearts break a little bit more.”

Furlow said he shares their sorrow for the “loss of life on both sides,” adding that he had already spoken with one of the protesters and would meet with other pro-Palestine organizers on Wednesday. The two protesters and the alder agreed to continue to talk.

When a proposal reaches the Board of Alders, the body’s leadership, helmed by Walker-Myers, determines which committee should consider it and hear input from the public. The committees include Aldermanic Affairs, Education, Legislation and Public Safety — none that expressly relate to international affairs or U.S. foreign policy.

But in 2022, alders approved a resolution urging President Biden to resurrect the Obama administration’s effort to end the U.S. embargo on Cuba. The Cuba resolution passed through the Health and Human Services Committee.

In early December, the activist group Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven circulated a document with instructions for calling alders to urge consideration of the ceasefire resolution. It includes a list of their phone numbers and scripts focused on persuading Walker-Myers to advance the proposal.

In the document, a table listing all 30 alders marks four as supportive of the resolution and one opposed — but the vast majority had no opinion listed there. The News could not independently verify the alders’ stances; several declined to comment publicly on Tuesday.

The full Board of Alders will meet again on Feb. 5. Committee assignments for the new term, with five new alders, have not been released, nor has the committee meeting schedule.

Ethan Wolin covers City Hall and local politics. He is a first year in Silliman College from Washington, D.C.
Yurii Stasiuk is a Managing Editor of the Yale Daily News. He previously covered City Hall as a beat reporter. Originally from Kalush, Ukraine, he is a sophomore in Jonathan Edwards College majoring in History and Political Science.