The ‘Cease-Fire Now’ Imposture

Nov 21, 2023 | Read Now, Voices

[Op-ed by Bret Stephens in The New York Times, November 21, 2023]

Of all that’s been said and written about the war between Israel and Hamas, nothing has cut through the mental fog quite so brightly as a remark this month from Hillary Clinton on “The View.”

“Remember,” the former secretary of state said, “there was a cease-fire on Oct. 6 that Hamas broke by their barbaric assault on peaceful civilians and their kidnapping, their killing, their beheading, their terrible, inhumane savagery.”

Those three words — “that Hamas broke” — aren’t trivial. They give the lie to the “Cease-Fire Now” mirage, or imposture, that has become a rallying cry at pro-Palestinian demonstrations. They are at the heart of what the war is about, and the key to how it can end. And they are the bright dividing line between those who would allow Hamas to get away with murder, and those who would refuse.

[The Op-ed continues]

The Israeli government and Hamas agreed on Wednesday morning to a four-day cease-fire in which Hamas would free 50 of the hostages. But Hamas did that only because it’s under intense military pressure. It could get a real and lasting cease-fire for the people of Gaza — and probably safe passage out of the territory for many of its members — in exchange for releasing all the hostages, surrendering its arms and renouncing its rule in favor of some other Arab power.

That Hamas has done none of these things isn’t shocking: It’s a terrorist death cult. What’s shocking is that people in the Cease-Fire Now crowd don’t appear to have much interest in making any demands of Hamas equivalent to those they make of Israel.

[The Op-ed continues]

For Israelis, what “Cease-Fire Now” means is “Surrender Now.” No wonder they decline to heed the call.

[The Op-ed concludes]

Instead of Cease-Fire Now, we need Hamas’s Defeat Now. Only on that basis does a lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians alike have any chance to follow.

View for the full text of the Op-ed in The New York Times