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Column: Do Not Expect a Cease-Fire in Gaza to Cease Fire

They demand a cease-fire in Manhattan, in south Holland, in London. What they do not guarantee is whether Hamas will honor a cease-fire – a cease-fire with no conditions.

All this misery started with a cease-fire already in effect between Israel and Hamas, at 6:30 a.m. on Oct. 7. Then terrorists from Gaza swooped across the border and murdered, maimed and raped Israelis, leaving 1,200 corpses behind throughout southern Israel. They seized 240 villagers and soldiers and held them in Gaza; 100 have been released so far.

The cease-fire dates back to late spring of 2021 after a still-bloody but less-consequential dispute. Hamas’ Oct. 7 raid violated that cease-fire.

Most people do not understand, or do not care, that a permanent and/or unconditional cease-fire bears no relevance to present conditions. Their demands differ from a temporary cease-fire which would facilitate release of Israeli hostages and allow far more humanitarian aid into Gaza. That is a critical step to take, of course.

Terrorists in Gaza will never respect a permanent form or even a temporary one with conditions. That will prevent them from achieving their ultimate objective: to destroy Israel. Their violation of the latest cease-fire was executed in a manner to make Hitler proud.

Israel does not need a cease-fire. As officials describe it, Israel is winning the war after four months. A cease-fire will probably inhibit Israel’s future tactics. Hamas is determined to remain in power and Israel is determined to destroy Hamas. Why would either party accept it or even abide by it?

I raise this point not to justify Israel’s strategy. I do not fully understand and cannot determine whether it has been necessary. I am sick each time I watch footage of corpses and maimed Palestinians – just as I was sick of viewing corpses and maimed Israelis on October 7. I do not want anyone harmed, whether Israelis or Arabs. As most readers know already, the terrorist group Hamas treats its people as human shields. Israel cannot strike Hamas targets without endangering civilians.

True, civilian casualties must be reduced if not stopped, but a cease-fire will not do it. Diplomatic measures are necessary to Influence Israeli actions. As Democratic U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens of Michigan said on MSNBC on Tuesday, civilians must be protected.

U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna, a California Democrat, spent much of last week in Michigan where many Arab-Americans were poised to vote “uncommitted” in the state’s Democratic presidential primary. They comprise the largest Arab community in America, in a Detroit suburb, and are enraged by President Biden’s support for Israel’s military strategy; Gaza health officials said that Israel’s military response has killed 30,000 Palestinians.

After meeting with residents, cease-fire proponent Khanna told The New York Times, “We cannot win Michigan with status quo policy. Every day that goes by where we’re seeing the bombing of women and children on social media or cable news is not a good day for our party.”

With most voting reported on Tuesday, “Uncommitted” won 100,000 votes against Biden’s 618,000 votes. Former President Trump received 765,000 votes as Nikki Haley won 294,000 votes in the Republican primary.

If a permanent cease-fire is established, how would it be enforced? What outside military force is willing to take on Israel or Hamas should either violate a cease-fire?

Anyone following these events must remember some fundamentals. Israel is obligated to protect its citizens and Hamas is responsible for the welfare of its people. If Hamas leaders cared about their people, they would never have touched Israelis who live a short walk from the border with Gaza.

I do not believe that all critics of the deaths in Gaza are anti-Israel. I’m sure that many of them are genuinely upset by the casualty rate, maybe the vast majority. However, there is still a core group that is exploiting these tragedies to undermine Israel and facilitate its future destruction.

Perhaps they are coordinating this campaign for a cease-fire because Israel is succeeding. Any concern for Palestinian lives is incidental.

Hypocrisy and other horrid elements stood out in courts and government forums.  China and Russia both voted for a resolution for an immediate cease-fire that came before the United Nations Security Council last Tuesday (Feb. 21); the United States voted for a veto, which was sufficient to block the measure. The United States is preparing a more stringent resolution for a cease-fire.

America’s veto “implies an endorsement of the brutal violence and collective punishment inflicted upon” the Palestinians,” said Amar Bendjama, Algeria’s UN ambassador, according to The New York Times. “Silence is not a viable option; now is the time for action and the time for truth.”

Bendjama nonetheless thought “silence is…a viable option” for Russia’s relentless attacks on Ukraine and the autocratic practices of both China and Russia.

The next day, a few days before we learned that Russia caused the deaths of 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers, Russia piped up during an anti-Israel hearing before the International Court of Justice in The Hague in southern Holland. The Times reports that Vladimir Tarabrin, Russia’s ambassador to the Netherlands, said Russia “cannot accept the logic” of those who “try to defend the indiscriminate violence against civilians” in Gaza by pointing to Israel’s right to defend itself. “Violence can only lead to more violence.”

Very true. Violence can indeed only lead to more violence. Violence led to more violence after President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to invade Ukraine two years ago.

Violence in Britain could be leading to an aversion to violence in Britain’s Parliament, according to the Associated Press. That is, Parliament members could be so fearful of physical retaliation that they are changing their positions on the Middle East conflict, a situation that was cited last Wednesday in the midst of a chaotic debate.

Conservative Charles Walker told Parliament, “This is a far bigger issue than the debate we’re having tonight, because if people are changing their votes in this place, or changing their behaviors in this place, because they are frightened what may happen to them or their families out there, then we have a real problem.”

Forgot to mention: Silence over Hamas’ responsibility in the event of a cease-fire has been overwhelming. A cease-fire will automatically be a burden for Israel, but few if anyone have suggested what Hamas must do. Then again, if history is any guide, why bother?

About Bruce Ticker

Bruce S. Ticker, who writes from Philadelphia, also blogs for The San Diego Jewish World and Smirking Chimp and previously for the suspended Philadelphia Jewish Voice. He was previously a reporter and copy editor for daily newspapers in eastern Pennsylvania.

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