Home January 2024 Good faith Negotiations?

Good faith Negotiations?

Calling for a Ceasefire, Without First Calling for the Unconditional Release of the Hostages, is Inhumane

On October 7, 2023, more Jews were killed than on any other single day since the Holocaust. In addition to brutally raping, torturing, and murdering 1,200+ innocent Israelis and others on October 7th, Hamas captured and took hostage 240 men, women, and children, ranging in age from 10 months old to 86 years old.
    Hamas is an internationally-recognized terrorist organization. Rather than pursue diplomatic solutions to the plight of the Palestinian people, Hamas committed an act of war. In response, Israel mounted a military campaign to locate and rescue the hostages and eradicate Hamas.
    Reportedly, Hamas’ strategy was always to be able to use the hostages as leverage to secure the release of their fellow terrorists.
    This should not be seen as an ordinary prisoner swap – the hostages Hamas captured are, by and large innocent non-combatant civilians while many of the prisoners in Israeli custody are terrorist criminals who had engaged in acts of violence against the people of Israel, including ten for attempted murder, thirteen for inflicting serious bodily harm, nineteen for placing a bomb or throwing an incendiary device, seven for shooting at people, and five for assault; they are terrorists who have violently attacked border guards and stabbed police officers in the streets of Jerusalem.
    What is happening in Gaza now may seem disproportionate, due to the higher number of reported casualties that have amassed on the Gazan side. However, it is crucial to recognize that Hamas is a master of propaganda, portraying Israel as the aggressor, when in fact Israel is merely acting in self-defense against a terrorist organization whose charter literally calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.
    When the IDF soldiers entered Gaza, they were not intentionally seeking out innocent women and children to murder like Hamas did. The innocent Gazans who have perished were, like the Israelis, victims of Hamas. There is also, however, a degree of responsibility to be shared by even the non-combatants in Gaza who provide refuge, aid, and comfort to the Hamas terrorists in their midst, including those who allow Hamas to hide out in their schools, hospitals, and homes, and who permit them to build and use tunnels under their buildings. That being said, it is entirely unknown, and impossible to know, how many of the non-combatants were complicit out of sympathy for Hamas, and how many were forced at gunpoint.
    If Israel were to accede to the calls for a unilateral ceasefire and lay down its weapons notwithstanding the continued daily barrage of rockets launched from Gaza and elsewhere, what would become of the remaining hostages? Certainly, Hamas would continue to use them as human pawns to be traded away for even more high-value Hamas terrorists. What is Israel to do, though, if Hamas were to keep increasing its demands? Tear down the security fence?
    Remove the blockade? Compromise all of its other security measures?
    In fact, between November 24th and November 30th, a ceasefire was in place between Israel and Hamas during which time 78 hostages were released. However, on November 30th, Hamas broke the ceasefire when two Hamas terrorists shot and killed at least three people at a
    Jerusalem bus stop. I have seen countless social media posts that call for a “ceasefire now”. However, I did not see a single one of the accounts that posted about a “ceasefire now” in any way condemning Hamas for violating the ceasefire. Where was the world’s outrage then?
    Calling for a cease-fire without first calling for the release of all the remaining hostages is antisemitic because it implies a form of tacit endorsement signaling to Hamas, and the world, that what Hamas did on October 7 is acceptable. Consider what would happen if the United States Embassy in Jerusalem had been breached, its staff members murdered, and the ambassador and his family taken hostage. The United States famously “does not negotiate with terrorists” – so why should Israel? The US would send in the Marines and not stop until the hostages were released and the threat eradicated. No one in the international community would fault the US for such a response or dare call for a ceasefire.
    Indeed, there cannot truly be any sort of good faith negotiation with Hamas so long as it is actively holding hostages, so why are so many calling for a ceasefire anyway?
    The answer, it would seem, is that they do not value Israeli lives.
    “My name is Noah Lederman, and I am a student enrolled in the joint degree program with Columbia University. I am studying Philosophy at Columbia University, while also obtaining a degree in Jewish Ethics at the Jewish Theological Seminary. In high school, I have participated as a group leader for Student-to-Student (STS), a peer-led initiative of Jewish students that leads presentations at local schools on combating Antisemitism through education and awareness. During my time with STS, I discovered the primary cause for most hatred is ignorance, and subsequently found my passion for education.
    With tensions so unnaturally high on campus, I continue to actively engage in my mission of education by organizing and attending dozens of protests and counter protests, all in reaction to the current conflict in Israel.
     I have written this article in response to the countless signs and chants that I have been witness to, all of which called for “cease-fire now“ but exclude any mention of the Jewish/Israeli hostages.” 




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