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Would a ceasefire end fighting in Gaza?

November 29th,2023 | Valley Voices

By David Jacques

I read with interest Paula Halpin’s open letter to MP Sophie Chatel “History will judge Liberals for not calling for ceasefire,” Nov. 15 edition). She expressed to Chatel her “deep shame and anger that, by not calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, [the federal Liberal] government has made Canadians complicit in a potential genocide being committed by Israel on a defenceless and stateless 2.3 million people….”

Ms Halpin’s solution to the problem in Gaza is, at the very least, simplistic. She suggests that a ceasefire [i.e. a stop to Israel’s military operations in Gaza] would end the fighting. On what basis, I wonder, does she come to that conclusion? What makes her think that Hamas, the elected government of Gaza, would see a ceasefire as anything other than a useful tool to regroup its forces and weaponry and continue its decades-long fight against Israel? Does she not understand that the original Hamas charter (1988) provided that: “There is no solution for the Palestinian problem except by Jihad”? And that the 2017 version of the charter assures the world that Palestine extends from the River Jordan in the east to the Mediterranean in the west…and that “the establishment of the Zionist entity therein do[es] not annul the right of the Palestinian people to their entire land and do[es] not entrench any rights therein for the usurping Zionist entity.” What reasonable person would conclude that these words are indicative of anything other than the stated Hamas goal of eliminating Israel from the map of the Middle East?  

The writer Halpin further claims that a ceasefire would prevent “a potential genocide” by Israelis against the Palestinians and that the root cause of this conflict is “Israel’s system of apartheid imposed on Palestinians.” Apartheid in Gaza? The last Israeli soldiers left the territory in September of 2005, more than 18 years ago. At that time 1.4 million Palestinians took possession of Gaza and the former Jewish settlements there.  

Moreover, after the establishment of Israel in 1947-49 and the displacement of some 750,000 Palestinians from Israel, there remained approximately 150,000 Palestinians living within Israel’s borders.  Today, approximately 1.65 million Palestinians are citizens of Israel. They comprise 20 per cent of the country’s population. Is this Ms Halpin’s evidence for Israel’s planned campaign of Palestinian genocide?  

I suggest that she think a little harder about the complexity of the Israel/Gaza issue. All wars are merciless and horrific. Israel is at war with Hamas. It has a legal right to defend its citizens. Hamas was elected back in 2007 by Palestinians to form a government for the Gaza territory. It is recognized internationally as a terrorist organization (including by Canada – see Canada’s Anti-Terrorism Act) and has vowed to annihilate the Jewish state of Israel.       

Ms Halpin’s views remind me of a past international problem that was supposed to be resolved back in 1939 by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain of Britain to achieve “Peace in our time”.     

David Jacques is a resident of Alcove, QC

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