Lou Sandler

Demands for an Israeli Ceasefire Always Forgets Hamas Terror

I listened to Mr. Jeremy Ben-Ami Ben Ami, President of J Street, an organization whose intent ‘is to promote American leadership to end the Arab–Israeli and Israeli–Palestinian conflicts peacefully and diplomatically,’ on the MSNBC Velshi news show Sunday morning talking about whether J Street was going to change its position and support an Israel ceasefire.

I want the death in Gaza to end. I specifically want the indiscriminate death reigned down on Gaza by Israel to stop immediately. I’ve written about Israel and Gaza rather extensively in my blogs on Daily Kos and the TOI. One included ‘Stop Killing Gazans’ as part of my headline. Evidently, Netanyahu hasn’t followed my blogs.

I also want a ‘ceasefire’ but am strongly opposed to what continues to present more as a unilateral expectation for Israel since, even if it were to happen, it would amount to suicide by a thousand cuts for Israel.

Israel has been forced into previous ceasefires, to include 1973, and stopped its self defense prematurely. But after the Hamas Massacre of October 7, and a promise by Hamas for more of the same combined with constant rocket fire into Israel, the current circumstances are different. Perhaps this next word has been a bit overused – but this truly is an existential moment for Israel. To expect Israel to unilaterally stop fighting is absurd.

A key, as Mr. Ben Ami referenced, is how to do so and what would constitute realistic expectations. Part of this certainly must be that US military aid needs to be given with conditions just as is true with every other nation who receives US support. The US has even given Ukraine explicit conditions despite their own existential war with Russia. And it is a war which seemed to be forgotten the instant Israel declared war on Hamas.

It is worth noting that Israel had declared war on Hamas – not Gaza – no matter how much of a challenge that continues to be. Conditions for US military aid and assistance are important, and especially so when it is for use by Netanyahu and his extremist coalition. I’ve seen no relevant change since Bibi moved into the supposed emergency ‘unity’ government. He continues to be the only person speaking and, apparently, making decisions.

Of particular relevance is that Hamas is about never referenced in that global, western and ‘progressive’ demand for a ceasefire. Only Israel has become the world’s villain.’

Turkey’s Erdogan’s self indulgent theatrics fails to reference the massive numbers of Sunni Muslims killed, and still being killed, by Al Assad in Syria. with a direct assist by Putin. And Putin, of course, is currently doing his best to facilitate a human, environmental and cultural genocide in Ukraine.

Erdogan is, fundamentally, another islamofascist dictator who has long targeted Kurds in Turkey. The world, and the United Nations has also remained completely oblivious to China’s brutalization of the Uyghurs, the genocide of Rohingya in Myanmar, and long ongoing slaughters in Tigray and the Sudan – about all Muslims.

But Israel suddenly has the globe, and UN’s, undivided attention. Why is that, exactly?

My point is that the singular focus on Israel without Hamas, the October 7th massacre, Hamas’ violent kidnapping of 250 persons – now about 140 – has fallen out of the picture. It’s as if Israel simply woke up on October 7 and decided to declare war on Hamas in Gaza. The facts on the ground need to be repeated. But with Netanyahu leading the way, Israel is also destroying itself politically and internationally.

It is not relevant to demand that Israel ceasefire or have conditions without recognizing that Hamas is the sole reason for Israel’s attack on Hamas in Gaza and the unnecessary suffering which has come with it. But it is Netanyahu’s excess which has made that focus on Israel.

The demand that Israel engage a ceasefire would include the following – along with conditions for US military aide:

1) Hamas must release every single hostage, and bodies of any dead, immediately to include men and members of the IDF without further discussion.

2) Israel should release every security prisoner other than those on trial for or convicted of murder or causing egregious bodily harm

3) Hamas must agree to lay down their guns, stop all rocket fire, and fully demilitarize.

4) If Hamas remains at all, it must reduce its numbers and can only act as a demilitarized political party under the initial control of an agreed PA leadership. Any violations of this condition will bring the IDF directly back into Gaza and after Hamas.

5) Netanyahu must be replaced as PM or, at the minimum, he can no longer lead or make primary decisions for Israel’s war cabinet. His primary coalition members must follow the directives of the War Cabinet which must incorporate military aid conditions imposed by Biden and the US. Israeli citizens should know a driving force behind this change has been the irresponsible and destructive pursuit by Netanyahu and his coalition of the current war with Hamas.

6) The Israeli government will immediately stop violence to Palestinians by violent West Bank settlers to include taking their land and villages, assaulting Palestinian farmers as they attend to and/or harvest their crop. Palestinian land so misappropriated must be returned.

7) So long as fighting continues, any air support must be in direct support of IDF actions on the ground rather than continuing to bomb Gaza indiscriminately.

8) Any continued action by the IDF in Gaza must become a selective and highly targeted operation. Remember that a large number of Gaza’s citizens do not like Hamas.

9) Israel, Hamas, and the PA must agree on a 2-state solution to occur within 6 months of the cessation of hostilities in Gaza. Elections must be held, first, within the PA for leadership roles. Abbas cannot run and must retire. A Palestinian state must be largely demilitarized except, perhaps, for it’s own police force. The PA will become initially responsible for administration based on elements to still be worked out.

About the Author
I was born in Baltimore, MD and have since had a wide range of experiences including a year plus in Israel. I've been a progressive organizer, writer/media spokesperson, coordinator and freelance. I am a PhD level Clinical Behavioral Analyst specializing in severe behavioral need in children (and adults) and their families. I write through no ‘agenda or special interest’ other than being a passionate supporter of Israel and Israel's future.
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