A Ceasefire: Symbolic and Controversial
A ceasefire is a formal agreement to temporarily stop fighting between two parties. It marks the beginning of negotiations for a path to peace. However, a ceasefire is heavily symbolic and often contentious.
The Israeli Perspective
For Israel, calls for a ceasefire are seen as surrendering to Hamas, terrorism, and barbarism. Israel believes that a ceasefire is a nonstarter unless Hamas releases all Israeli hostages. Israel sees Hamas as a terrorist organization and acts to protect its citizens.
In the past, there have been several ceasefires between Israel and Hamas in 2009, 2012, 2014, and most recently in 2021. However, the current situation is different after Hamas’ deadly attack on October 7th, which resulted in the deaths of 122 Israeli citizens and the capture of hundreds more.
The American Position
The United States, along with Israel, believes that Hamas cannot be trusted and that a pause in the fighting could give Hamas an opportunity to regroup and launch another attack. The US provides significant military support to Israel, making its opinion influential.
Most Western allies, including Canada, support Israel’s right to defend itself. While some avoid using the word “ceasefire,” others call for a pause in the fighting to allow for aid and hostage release.
Cracks in the Alliance
French President Emmanuel Macron has become the first G7 leader to call for a ceasefire. Charities, international groups, and public opinion in Canada and the US are also increasingly voicing support for a ceasefire.
The Power of the United States
The United States holds significant influence over Israel. Other countries’ opinions are seen as background noise. Israel believes a ceasefire is only possible when Hamas no longer poses a threat.
There are reports of talks between Hamas, Israel, and the US to negotiate the release of Israeli hostages in exchange for a limited-time ceasefire.
US president seemed to acknowledge that Israel has agreed to some sort of pause. It appears that the Israelis have agreed to it, but I don’t have all the details. However, I am mildly hopeful. Let’s not call it a ceasefire.