Walter G. Wasser

To HRH Prince William

Prince William recently made a statement calling for an end to the fighting in Gaza, expressing concern about the human cost and the need for humanitarian aid. This is a departure from the royal family’s usual avoidance of political statements. This caused me to write an open letter to HRH.

Dear Royal Highness Prince William of Wales:

I write to you today with a profound sense of dismay and disbelief regarding your recent statement concerning the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

Your words, widely publicized as a call for an end to the war, have deeply troubled me and countless others who understand the complex realities of this situation. Your intervention in a matter as sensitive and intricate as the Israel-Gaza conflict is not only ill-advised but also dangerously irresponsible. By seemingly advocating for an immediate cessation of hostilities, you are inadvertently legitimizing and emboldening the terrorist organization Hamas, which is responsible for the violence and suffering inflicted upon innocent civilians on both sides of the conflict.

After Hamas crossed into Israel on Oct. 7, murdering over 1,200 Israelis in brutal ways that included mutilation and sexual assaults as well as taking over 200 hostages back into Gaza, Israel formally declared a defensive war against Hamas in Gaza in accordance with international law and the United Nations charter. Since, the IDF estimates it has killed 10,000 Hamas operatives, while Hamas claims that the total number of casualties is 24,000 (Hamas does not distinguish civilian deaths from militant deaths).

The truth is that Israel has painstakingly followed the laws of armed conflict and implemented many steps to prevent civilian casualties, despite enormous challenges. Israel’s military faced over 30,000 Hamas militants in over 400 miles of defensive and offensive tunnels embedded in and under civilian areas, populations and protected sites such as hospitals, mosques, schools, and United Nations facilities across multiple cities. Hamas’ strategy is to use Palestinian civilians as human shields, because their goal is not to defeat Israel’s military or to hold terrain; it is far more sinister and medieval—to use the death and suffering of Palestinian civilians to rally international support to their cause and demand that Israel halt their war. Meanwhile, Israel’s war aims were more traditional: returning Israeli hostages, dismantling Hamas military capability, and securing their border to prevent another October 7 attack.

Most experts compare the Gaza war to the recent urban battles against ISIS involving United States forces, including the 2016-17 Battle of Mosul. In that battle, over 100,000 Iraqi Security Forces, backed by American advisors and US and coalition air power, took nine months to clear a city of 3,000 to 5,000 lightly armed ISIS fighters. The battle resulted in over 10,000 civilian deaths, 138,000 houses destroyed or damaged and 58,000 damaged with 40,000 homes destroyed outright in just Western Mosul. Iraqi Security Forces suffered 10,000 casualties. There were very limited, shallow, house-to-house tunnels, but no tunnel networks, no hostages, no rockets.

In April of 2004, the US military was directed to arrest the perpetrators of an attack that caused the death of four American civilians and deny insurgents sanctuary in the densely populated city of Fallujah, Iraq, a city of 300,000 residents. The battle that ensued was later dubbed the First Battle of Fallujah. Because of international condemnation and political instability fueled by international media over a perceived indiscriminate use of force and civilian casualties, the US forces were ordered by the US Central Command Commander to stop the battle six days into it. Estimates of the total civilian deaths from the battle range from 220 to 600. Six months later, in November 2004, the US military initiated the Second Battle of Fallujah. It took 13,000-15,000 US, UK, and Iraqi forces six weeks to clear the city of 3,000 insurgents. There were some 800 civilian deaths even though the city’s residents had largely evacuated before the battle. Over sixty percent the city’s buildings were damaged or destroyed. But there, too, the enemy defenders did not have access to tunnels.

Put all of this together, this war is simply without precedent. Certainly, it cannot be compared to the host of other wars that have been used for comparison’s sake to paint Israel in an unflattering light.

Living in Jerusalem, a city deeply affected by the relentless barrage of rockets and terrorist attacks launched by Hamas, I cannot overstate the gravity of the threat posed by this extremist group. Your call for an end to the war, without acknowledging the need for Israel to defend itself against Hamas’s genocidal intentions, is tantamount to supporting evil. It is deeply troubling that you fail to recognize the fundamental difference between Israel’s legitimate right to self-defense and Hamas’s relentless campaign of terror and violence.

Your statement disregards the fact that Hamas deliberately targets civilians, including women and children, while cynically using them as human shields to advance its murderous agenda. Furthermore, your silence on Hamas’s egregious violations of international law, including its use of humanitarian aid to fund terrorism and its systematic indoctrination of children to become future terrorists, is profoundly disappointing.

As a prominent figure with a platform that reaches millions, you have a moral obligation to speak out against such atrocities and unequivocally condemn those responsible. Your failure to do so not only undermines the efforts of those working tirelessly to promote peace and stability in the region but also risks exacerbating the suffering of innocent civilians caught in the crossfire. Instead of blindly advocating for an end to the war, I implore you to educate yourself on the complexities of the situation and refrain from making statements that could further inflame tensions and empower terrorists.

In closing, I urge you to reconsider your position and demonstrate solidarity with the people of Israel who are courageously defending their homeland against terrorism. Your words carry weight and influence, and it is incumbent upon you to use them responsibly in support of justice, peace, and the security of all those affected by this conflict.

Yours sincerely,

Walter G. Wasser, MD

About the Author
The author is a specialist in nephrology and internal medicine and lives with his wife and family in Jerusalem.
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