Dear politicians, protestors and ordinary citizens calling for a ceasefire in Gaza,
Many of you are people of conscience, people who see the terrible images and read the grim statistics, people who just want peace.
Here are some points you may wish to take into account.
You must be knowing that Hamas initiated the atrocities of October 7th as the next round of escalation.
- It could have chosen a non-violent action.
- It could have chosen to limit its assault against military facilities.
- It could have limited itself to hostage-taking.
- It could have chosen to target only adults.
- It could even have chosen ‘merely’ to mass murder civilians.
But no. Hamas intentionally chose – and continues to justify its choice – to carry out the most extreme forms of humiliation, torture, mutilation, sexual assault, and desecration of dead bodies without mercy for anyone, even the youngest babies and the most elderly and vulnerable adults.
You might be giving the benefit of the doubt about what it is that your Islamist co-marchers are seeking, not knowing that Islamist clerical leadership grants civilian status to no Israeli – not to women, not to children, not to the elderly – against the normal ethos of Islam. This is why Hamas leaders can look straight in the camera and say they did not kill civilians on October 7th.
You might have heard that Hamas is deeply embedded in the Palestinian civil infrastructure, in schools, hospitals and mosques.
You might also have heard these sites are connected by tunnels, but perhaps you didn’t hear that, in Hamas’ own words, there are over 500km of tunnels running below Gaza, while the entire Gaza Strip itself covers only 365km2. Think that through.
And while you’re thinking about that, you might also want to reflect on what it means that Hamas allows those tunnels for use only by its fighters – they are out of bounds for Palestinian civilians seeking shelter.
So you might deep down be knowing, but perhaps not really believing, that Hamas openly encourages and enables Palestinian civilian ‘sacrifice’ – sometimes to the extent of shooting its own people – because according to them, Palestinians are a ‘nation of martyrs … proud of sacrificing martyrs‘.
You must have wondered, could Israel not do things differently? What about diplomacy? What about non-violent countermeasures?
Perhaps you did not hear – Israel already offered a comprehensive peace proposal three times, in 1969, 2000 and 2007.
Perhaps you did not hear – Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005 all soldiers and all Jewish civilians, literally dragged from their homes, ending a Jewish presence in Gaza going back 3,000 years, leaving behind valuable agricultural and industrial infrastructure.
Perhaps you did not hear – Israel, in the face of rockets fired at its civilian population, and together with Egypt, imposed its non-violent countermeasure, a blockade to prevent weapons entering Gaza. For all its non-violence, it was and continues to be much-maligned.
But what you must have heard – it was widely publicised – is that Hamas openly states they plan to repeat October 7th ‘again and again… until Israel is destroyed‘.
So, in this context, your call for ceasefire can only mean allowing an openly genocidal force to regroup on Israel’s borders for another brutal assault against Israeli civilians, which will only re-ignite the same unavoidable response that Israel is taking today.
Is that really what you have in mind with your ceasefire call?
Let me suggest instead, the morally correct pathway to avoid further bloodshed in both Gaza and Israel is not a ceasefire that leaves Hamas’ horror infrastructure intact, but rather the negotiated surrender and disarmament of Hamas and its fellow ‘militants’ (as the BBC likes to call them).
My call is for those that are today calling for ceasefire to publicly change their minds..
… not because you are any less distressed by the tragic loss of civilian life…
… not because you sympathise any less with the Palestinian cause…
… but rather because a call for action must be directed to stop the aggressors who have shown their appetite for atrocity has not been in the slightest bit dulled despite the recent events…
… and not to those who are defending innocent civilians who once believed in ‘never again’, but now hear your calls for ceasefire as ‘again and again’.