An End to a War Without End

Guest Blog Post by Scott Richards.

The “Palestinian Cause” has been a source of war and radicalism for decades. It has been considered unresolvable throughout those years. Osama Bin Laden referenced Palestine in his letters, and in his messages in 2009, in the years before his death. Palestinians, as with any ‘people’ are not a singular; there are those that support Hamas, and those that blame Hamas for their present miseries. There are those that can see a future, those who see opportunities for peace and those who do not. People are only ever singular for governments, because governments decide on behalf of the ‘people’. 

The latest proposal from Israel and the talks in Egypt asks existential questions of Hamas and Jihad, that has supported Hamas’ cause, and their strict interpretations of Islam. The latest proposal asks for ‘restoring calm’ and the expansion of aid into Gaza to support the 1.1m displaced people. The ‘restoration of calm’ is a precursor to aid being able to enter the country, and as a progressive deal, this ‘truce’ requires hostages to be released. 

In this scenario, Israel has shown a willingness toward a ‘calm’, it is an extraordinary step, and in that calm, the lives of ordinary Gazans, their most basic needs can start to be met. For Hamas to reject such an offer and commit themselves to more conflict, it becomes impossible for them to say that senseless sacrifice and suffering of Gazans that would be incurred in a ‘Rafah Operation’ represents a struggle. It would just be death. Senseless and needless. It would not serve any ‘strategic objective’ of Hamas, it would not ‘isolate Israel’, as Israel has offered a reasonable position that benefits the civilians in Gaza. 

It would not be Jihad. These deaths would not represent a service to Allah. There is no holy sacrifice. Just starvation, malnutrition and collateral death from indignance.

In Islam, there is a great importance placed upon charitable service to the sick, the poor, women, children and elderly. To accept a ‘deal’ for ‘calm’, that allows the people of Gaza access to food, medicine and to return to Northern Gaza, to ease the pressures on a compressed, tired and strained people – that accords to the fundamental values of Islam. To reject this offer, to continue the violence and to condemn the people of Gaza to a misery of catastrophic proportions; that would be an act of selfishness and pride. 

Hamas holds the lives of all Gazans in its hands, not just their supporters, but the innocent: mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and children. At this moment Hamas decides the future of Gaza. Hamas alone determines the possibility of a lasting peace. Hamas decides for everyone within those borders. 

However, to continue the violence at this point denies the rationale of their ‘cause’.

The hostages have been at the center of this conflict, a driver for violence and their release one of the most critical ‘off-ramps’ for an extension and expansion of violence. It is unlikely in a deal, it would be a total-release of all those held captive, because Hamas would want to see that the calm or ceasefire is honored. For the same reason, Israel would not wish to completely withdraw, but for Gazans, sufficient aid must flow where needed, and managed properly without corruption; so those in need have their needs met. 

With a hostage release, even a portion of them, then the others that remain, must be counted and accounted for. Their welfare becomes paramount while the ‘progressive deal’ takes place, so that no more die in captivity, they need to be assessed for health, and conditions sufficient to meet Hamas’ legal obligations.

We may have reached a turning point, a powerful and important one. The choice lies with Hamas, but if they continue violence, and refuse to accept reasonable terms, to sacrifice Gazans, it is not the cause of Palestinians they are fighting for by condemning them to suffering and senseless death. If they continue to wage violence against Israel, they do it for themselves and for power, not as liberators or as a holy war. It is just blood and the most blood spilled onto those sands or rubble will be from civilians. Civilians who have no say in what decisions Hamas Leaders make.

In the next hours or days, faced with this choice, it will be apparent who Hamas serves, the people of Gaza, or themselves and a war without end.

About the Author
Luc Bernard is a French Jewish video game creator and director. Known for his game The Light in the Darkness, which has received rave reviews across the globe, Luc is changing the way people view video games and Jewish history. With an insight on Jewish culture and a realism that has never been seen with in a game, The Light in the Darkness tells a moving story of a fictional family of Polish Jews caught up in the Holocaust in France. The game has gone on to be dubbed in different languages around the world. Luc’s most recent accomplishment is the inclusion of a Holocaust Museum into gaming juggernaut Epics Fortnite, changing the way people play and watch videogames. Born in France and raised in poverty between France and the UK by his grandmother, Luc knew there was more for himself and his Jewish culture. By 16 he was making games and had his sights set on the American Dream. He went from living in France to living in Los Angeles, pursuing his gaming career. Known as a thought leader and a disrupter in the space, Luc wanted to do things his way: he self-financed his passion, believing he had a duty to share the stories of the 6 million Jews and who they were as people, not just what their death was. Luc released the game for free — and the game has seen massive success. The Economist said, “It makes for sobering gameplay, though that’s the point. Bernard wanted to show that for Jews survival was just a matter of luck. He hopes that his creation will be used as a teaching resource for young people for years to come.” Luc is represented by UTA and lives in Los Angeles.
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