Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan and Vice Mayor Larry Agran will lead a discussion on Tuesday, Feb. 27, that will introduce action items in response to the local impacts of the Israel-Palestine conflicts. 

Despite rising tensions in the chamber and hundreds of public demands for a ceasefire, this will become the first time the council has addressed Middle Eastern conflict on a council agenda. 

A memo, co-signed by Khan and Agran, introduces a four-step roadmap that focuses on building understanding between communities and eliminating divisiveness and hatred within Irvine. The memo also acknowledged the concerns of community members who say they are experiencing discrimination because of religious or ethnic identity.    

“Specifically, many communities within Irvine have reported and publicly commented that they are feeling threatened and unsafe. We have heard reports that children are being harassed at Irvine schools based on their heritage, religion, attire, and their individual beliefs regarding the current war in the Mideast,” the memo read. “And members of the broader Irvine community have reported similar toxic interactions.”

Recent statistics on hate crimes and hate incidents in Irvine, provided by Irvine Police Chief Mike Kent, shows that Jewish residents have reported four hate incidents so far in 2024. There were a total of ten in 2023.

In terms of actionable items, the memo indicates that the city would work with the Irvine Unified School District to ensure “all members of the community are made to feel safe and respected.”

Since the conflicts began in October, Irvine leaders have grappled with hundreds of public commenters addressing the Israel-Palestine war, and urging the council to adopt a ceasefire resolution.

According to the memo, the approach will also work to ease grievances between community members through the assistance of human relations organizations including Groundswell and the Interfaith Council. 

This is a developing story. 

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