IN THE MEDIA

A permanent ceasefire now would be a victory for Hamas

Nov 29, 2023 | Justin Amler

Hamas fighters in the southern Gaza Strip (Image: Abed Rahim Khatib/ Shutterstock)
Hamas fighters in the southern Gaza Strip (Image: Abed Rahim Khatib/ Shutterstock)

An edited version of this article appeared in the Courier Mail – 29 November 2023

 

The latest development in Israel’s war against Hamas – precipitated by a murderous terrorist pogrom against southern Israeli towns on October 7 – is an agreement for the release of 50 hostages, including children and mothers in exchange for a 4-day temporary ceasefire and the release of up to 300 Palestinian prisoners.

This is a temporary humanitarian truce, which is very different from a long-term or permanent ceasefire, something increasing number of people, both in Australia and internationally, have been demanding in recent weeks.. Even Foreign Minister Penny Wong recently said “we all want to take the next steps towards a ceasefire” before adding no ceasefire could be “one-sided”.

A permanent ceasefire would be a terrible idea, at least for the time being. It would not end the conflict but prolong it. It would end up costing more lives, because it would effectively mean Hamas survives, and no longer has to fear Israeli action to prevent it repeating its attacks. It would be able to regroup and rearm for the next round of fighting – which it would inevitably initiate, as it has promised to do.

This would be a victory for the Hamas terrorists who committed the October 7 atrocity and would mean that 1,200 innocent people butchered  on that day will not have justice. Hamas – the genocidal terrorist group whose charter calls for the murder of all Jews – would have gotten away with murder once again, and the 240 kidnapped hostages … well… their fate would depend on the goodwill of these same savages who massacred men, women, grandparents, children and babies in their homes.

It simply beggars belief that these ceasefire demands are being directed only at Israel, ignoring Hamas  – which holds hostages, uses its own citizens as human shields, shoots those trying to escape the fighting and steals fuel from hospitals for its own use – all blatant and unequivocal war crimes.

All innocent deaths are tragic, but we cannot lose sight of the fact that Hamas is not only responsible for every single death that took place on October 7, but is also responsible for every single death since then in Gaza.

Hamas’ evil is undeniable and the atrocities it committed should cause any decent person to recoil in disgust. The stories that have emerged and continue to emerge are harrowing.  They include a mother watching her daughter being murdered in front of her while the terrorists recorded and uploaded a video of it to social media. They include an Israeli paramedic who spoke in tears of how she came across an eight-year-old girl whose hand had been sliced off. The paramedic was unable to save her as she bled to death shaking in fear. Another report revealed girls raped so brutally their pelvises were broken.

These are just some of the many stories of the hell that was unleashed that day.

There comes a time when all decent civilisations need to stand up against an evil like this – even if the costs are high.

It has been done before.

During World War 2, after years of failed appeasement, the Allies united in a moment of moral clarity to fight what was clearly an evil that had no place in any kind of progressive civilisation that valued life, liberty and freedom. They realised then that the fate of the world depended upon them and if they failed, a new dark age would descend upon the entire Earth turning it into an apocalyptic vision from our worst nightmares.

So they rose up and stood united to fight this axis of evil, including Nazi Germany and Japan. And during the six-year long war, there were no calls for “humanitarian ceasefires” or protests on the “disproportionate use of force”.

That’s because the world had the clarity to understand that Nazi Germany and Japan had to be defeated. The future of the free world depended on it.

Israel today faces a similar depraved evil.

Since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, there have been at least five major conflicts between Hamas and Israel all ending in ceasefires – but those ceasefires that did not contribute towards any kind of peaceful solution. They had the opposite effect, allowing Hamas to continue to build up its weaponry, growing stronger and more dangerous, eventually leading up to the events of October 7th.

Hamas’ goals have never changed over the years. It remains committed to the eradication of the Jewish State. No ceasefire will ever change that. So while it’s difficult to see the destruction in Gaza and the deaths of civilians inadvertently caused by Israel’s efforts to root out Hamas, the only ever beneficiary of ceasefires has been Hamas.

Those who call for a long-term ceasefire have failed to heed history’s lessons that ceasefires with genocidal groups like Hamas do not help peace, but hinder it. They do not alleviate suffering, but only prolong it.

Justin Amler is a Policy Analyst at the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council.

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