We all know that in the context of the Israel-Hamas War, “ceasefire” is a code word for “protect the lives of Palestinians from Israeli military attacks.” In other words, as the sloganeers would have it, ceasefire is directed at only one party. It’s apparently ok with them for Palestinian terrorists to keep shooting at Israelis.
But as the saying goes, it takes two dogs for a dog fight.
So far, I’ve heard no one calling for Hamas to lay down its arms and agree to an immediate ceasefire. So I am doing that. Hamas must come out of hiding, stop using Gazans as human shields and cannon fodder, and lay down their arms. If they do that, Israel must immediately agree to a ceasefire. Enough blood has been shed for now in retaliation for the Oct. 7 pogrom in Southern Israel.
In addition to saving Palestinian (and Israeli) lives, a mutual ceasefire would clear the way for peaceful hostage negotiations, since the two sides would still be in serious conflict on that subject. At the same time, it would clear the way for Israel, the Arab nations and the world community to rush humanitarian aid into Gaza.
I am calling on President Biden, all other world leaders and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to join me in demanding that Hamas immediately lay down its arms, and to call on Israel to agree to a ceasefire as well. I am calling on Israelis and Jews around the world to demand that Hamas lay down their arms and that if they do, for Israel to agree to an immediate ceasefire.
I am calling on demonstrators to take up this rallying cry too: “Hamas, come out of hiding and lay down your arms! Hamas, stop using innocent Gazans as human shields!”
It is literally the only way to stop the carnage in Gaza.
Of course, Hamas will likely laugh at such a suggestion. They are doing their usual masterful job of reframing themselves and their fellow Gazans as the real victims and Israelis as the aggressors, and many of the loudest voices in the world (at least from my vantage point) are more than happy to amplify this message.
Hamas isn’t going to get what it wants – the total destruction of Israel and its replacement by a Palestinian state – so they might as well ride this global wave of “goodwill” as far as it will get them. Demonstrators around the world are calling to “Free Palestine” without having a clue what that really means, and Hamas is surely loving it.
While focusing on Israel’s ongoing military attacks on Gaza and calling for that to stop, most of the global community fails to grasp is that Israel isn’t doing this to slaughter innocent Gazans. And Hamas isn’t fighting to “free” the people of Gaza and Arabs living in the West Bank, or even to insure them a better standard of living. Hamas cares so little about their fellow Gazans that they are willing to use them as human shields and public relations cannon fodder.
What’s really happening is that Hamas is leveraging its inferior military power by conducting a guerrilla offensive, hiding in tunnels and building underground facilities behind innocent Gazans, forcing Israel into an impossible choice: Let Hamas continue to do its dirty work from behind their human shields and suffer the consequences, or attack Hamas at great cost to both Gazan lives and Israel’s standing in the world community.
If the world joins me in calling for Hamas to lay down its arms and agree to a ceasefire, it would force Hamas to come out publicly saying they intend to keep shooting from behind their human shields. That would then give their fellow Gazans a clearer view of what these terrorists really care about – which is not the lives of innocent Palestinian women and children.
It would also force protesters and pro-Palestinian world leaders to think a little harder about what they are blindly supporting. Hamas is using the innocent Palestinians whose lives you want spared as cannon fodder in their futile holy war against the existence of the state of Israel – are you really in favor of that continuing?
I know I’m crying out for something that seems all but impossible. But we have to start somewhere. More war, more killing, is not the path to peace. Peace is the way.