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OpinionIsrael at War

Gaza ceasefire demands: Instant recipe for more death and destruction

A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is bad for Israel, bad for the United States, bad for the Palestinians and bad for the Middle East.

Israeli troops operating in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Dec. 18, 2023. Credit: IDF.
Israeli troops operating in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Dec. 18, 2023. Credit: IDF.
Jason Shvili
Jason Shvili
Jason Shvili is a contributing editor at Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME), which publishes educational messages to correct lies and misperceptions about Israel and its relationship to the United States.

The American left demands a ceasefire in order to alleviate the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and reduce civilian casualties. But a ceasefire won’t solve the humanitarian crisis Hamas has manufactured—or any other identified problem. At best, a ceasefire is a bandage on a swollen, bleeding tumor. At worst, it’s a recipe for increased Israeli, Palestinian and perhaps even American deaths. 

A ceasefire would prevent the definitive, final destruction of Hamas, a goal both the United States and Israel share. It would allow the Islamist terrorist group to rebuild. As precedent has shown, a ceasefire will lead to ongoing fighting, since Israel will be forced to continue repelling Hamas’s assaults. Indeed, Hamas has promised to commit more Oct. 7-style attacks as soon as it is able to.

A ceasefire would strengthen the United States’ and Israel’s mutual enemy, Iran, which controls Hamas as well as other proxy Islamist militias in the region, such as Hezbollah. It would be a victory for Hamas—and a victory for Hamas is a victory for global jihad. 

While a ceasefire might reduce civilian casualties in the short run, it would only allow Hamas to embed itself deeper in (and below) Gaza. Thus, when Israel’s attacks on Hamas inevitably resume, even more civilians will be exposed to deadly risk.

Lastly, a ceasefire will reduce prospects for peace between Israelis and Palestinians and in the region as a whole. 

After more than two months of fighting, Israel is “still far from toppling Hamas,” according to Michael Milstein at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, who noted that “the majority of its fighters are still alive; it still possesses rockets.” The United States must stay the course and continue its support for Israel until it destroys Hamas.

A ceasefire would allow Hamas to rise again. In past wars, Israel has made ceasefire arrangements with Hamas. After each of these ceasefires, the terrorist group has emerged stronger. For example, whereas Hamas rockets were once primitive, homemade projectiles that could only reach Israeli communities bordering Gaza, they are now more sophisticated and deadlier than ever—able to reach almost any part of Israel. 

The massacre of Oct. 7 would not have occurred if Israel had refused previous ceasefires with Hamas and eliminated the group many years ago. If Israel agrees to another ceasefire, Hamas will undoubtedly launch more attacks—as it has sworn to do—likely even deadlier than that of Oct. 7. 

A ceasefire would be a victory for Islamism and Iran. Hamas could claim victory, and as British Col. (ret.) Richard Kemp warned in an article in The Daily Telegraph earlier this month, a Hamas victory “would further embolden Iran and its proxies in the region. It would also encourage jihadists globally, much as the rise of ISIS inspired terror attacks in the Middle East, Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere.”

A ceasefire would not reduce casualties or alleviate the humanitarian crisis in the long run. Rather, it would lead to more civilian casualties, because Hamas would use the ceasefire to further entrench itself in Gaza’s network of terror tunnels, as well as inside schools, hospitals, mosques and residential buildings. This would only increase civilian deaths when fighting with Israel resumes. 

Bear in mind, also, that calls for a ceasefire by both Israel’s allies and its enemies are largely based on highly suspect death tolls claimed by Hamas and parroted by media worldwide. Note: This death count does not include Hamas terrorists killed in fighting. To date, Hamas claims more than 18,000 have died in Gaza during the war. According to Israel, at least 7,000 of the dead have been Hamas fighters. 

The Hamas-sponsored death toll also does not distinguish between civilians killed by Israel and Gazans killed by the terrorists themselves, for example by misfired rockets like the one that landed in the parking lot of Gaza’s Al-Ahli Hospital on Oct. 17. Hamas claimed this was an Israeli airstrike on the hospital, and that 500 were killed. The media bought this lie, and looked like gullible fools when Israel produced hard evidence that a Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket had hit the medical facility’s parking lot, killing no more than 50. It’s just one example of Hamas lying about civilian deaths—trying to inflate the death toll, defame Israel and promote a ceasefire. 

As for the increased humanitarian aid that a ceasefire might permit, Hamas would surely steal the aid—as it has famously done before. Moreover, aid for Gaza will still be severely restricted, because with Hamas remaining in power, Israel and Egypt will be forced to extend their blockade. Ordinary Gazans will continue living in misery under the tyrannical dictatorship of the Islamist group.

A ceasefire would also severely weaken prospects for peace in the region. No Israeli-Palestinian peace can be achieved so long as Hamas, which rejects any negotiated deal with Israel, controls territory that Palestinians want for a future state. What’s more, polls show Hamas would most certainly win Palestinian elections if they were held today.

Finally, since a ceasefire would make Israel and the United States appear weak, other countries in the region would likely grow closer to Iran and other U.S. rivals, instead of pursuing normalization with Israel and expanding the Abraham Accords. Indeed, earlier this year, Saudi Arabia re-established diplomatic ties with its archrival Iran—a rapprochement arranged by U.S. rival China. A senior Israeli official blamed this development on “American and Israeli weakness.” 

A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is nothing but a bad idea. It’s bad for Israel, it’s bad for the United States, it’s bad for the Palestiniansand it’s bad for the Middle East. The only beneficiaries of a ceasefire will be Hamas, Iran and their belligerent allies.

If there is a ceasefire, Israelis will continue to live in justifiable fear of Hamas. The United States and Israel will look feeble in the eyes of the world. Iran’s power and influence will grow, along with that of other U.S. rivals like Russia and China. Gazans will continue living in misery under the boot of Hamas. As for peace prospects? Polls show the very idea provokes revulsion in both Israelis and Palestinians.

Originally published by Facts and Logic About the Middle East.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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