Villa Park backs Gaza cease-fire resolution

Villa Park this week became one of the first DuPage County communities to adopt a resolution calling for a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.

The resolution passed 6-1 at Monday’s village board meeting, with Village President Nick Cuzzone casting the lone dissenting vote. The city of Chicago, Bolingbrook and DuPage Township officials have passed resolutions supporting an end to the violence in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Before voting, Cuzzone called the situation in Gaza horrific but said the village board never has adopted such resolutions.

“We are local officials who focus on local matters,” he said, adding that the village does not condone any form of hate and that individual board members can contact their state and federal representatives on their own.

Villa Park Trustee John “Jack” Kozar called Cuzzone’s comments disappointing.

“This is a time for leadership. This is a time to listen to our Villa Park residents,” Kozar said. “This is a time to unite people in Villa Park, to bring us all together … it pains me to think that the president of our board says that we cannot effect change.”

The village is home to a sizable Muslim population due to the Islamic Foundation of Villa Park and School being located in town.

Though he voted against the resolution, Cuzzone Thursday said he intends to sign the resolution. Trustees made a few minor changes to the resolution before voting, and a final copy has not yet been presented to Cuzzone to sign, he said.

The board’s action came after more than 30 minutes of public comment requesting the board adopt such a resolution.

In recent weeks, suburban village boards and city councils have found themselves on the front lines of calls for action to end the conflict in Gaza.

Public comment sessions during some city council meetings have stretched to an hour or more as residents reiterate pleas for a resolution supporting a cease-fire.

However, many community leaders have echoed Cuzzone’s sentiments, noting the conflict in Gaza is beyond the village’s purview.

Though the village cannot directly affect the outcome in Gaza, Trustee Deepasriya Kumar said Villa Park could lead by example by adopting the resolution.

“I do believe that we set an example,” she said. “Setting an example is a start. Maybe we set an example for our state representatives. Maybe we set an example for our federal representatives. Maybe we sent an example for our international representatives who will eventually have to deal fully with this problem.”

Villa Park’s resolution decries “violence of any sort” and stands against any violence against Palestinian or Israeli citizens. The resolution also notes the actions of Hamas “does not reflect the beliefs of all Gazans” and that the actions of the Israeli government “does not reflect the beliefs of all Israelis.”

The resolution also demands the immediate release of all hostages and a permanent cease-fire. It goes on to state the village does not support federal tax dollars being spent on “weapons of war that result in the killing of innocent civilians.”

“We ask that all the world powers come together to create an immediate path to permanent peace,” the resolution reads.

Alicia Fabbre Daily Herald Media Group

Alicia Fabbre is a local journalist who contributes to the Daily Herald