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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

The Editorial Board calls for an immediate ceasefire to the Israel-Hamas war

A ceasefire is only the start to addressing a crisis that has existed for decades 

 

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

 

Less than three months into the Israel-Hamas war, an estimated 6,000 buildings have been damaged and nearly 20,000 total people have died — with women and children representing nearly 70% of all deaths reported. Amidst local and global demands for a ceasefire, it is clear that the war in Gaza is a humanitarian crisis. The Editorial Board calls for an immediate ceasefire to end the violence against civilians in the regions. 

The United Nations General Assembly approved a resolution with large support calling for a ceasefire on Dec. 12, with the U.S. being one of 10 nations who voted against the decision. The same day, the Davis City Council also came to a unanimous decision to pass a resolution calling for a ceasefire to the war. The Editorial Board stands with the city’s decision. 

A ceasefire is only as legitimate as the parties who abide by it. Israel and Hamas alike have a responsibility to not break a ceasefire for the sake of civilian lives. In 2012, there was a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel after an eight-day-long conflict — Israel later broke this pact by firing on farmers and fishermen. And, according to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Hamas broke the temporary ceasefire that happened in November, firing toward Israeli territory shortly after the truce began. 

While a ceasefire may come with concern of violations, the growing number of civilian casualties must be stopped. We understand why governments feel the need to defend their people or respond to terror attacks, but this cannot come at the expense of thousands of civilian lives. Collective punishment is never acceptable.

There must be an immediate end to all acts of terrorism and violence committed against civilians. Hamas does not represent all Palestinians and the IDF does not represent all Israeli citizens — civilians should not have to pay the price for decisions they did not make. 

As part of an immediate ceasefire, there must also be a diplomatic attempt to seek permanent solutions to the conflict. This is not a war that occurred in a vacuum; the conflict has roots in centuries-old cultures and events. All parties also have a responsibility to adhere to international law and abide by the recommendations of the Geneva Convention for times of war. 

There must also be a return of essential utilities to the Gaza Strip, such as water, food, fuel and electricity. Gaza receives most of its electricity from Israeli power lines and according to the U.N., most commodities in Gaza, such as food, are imported from Israel. After the Oct. 7 attacks, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced a “complete siege” on Gaza, saying the region would be cut off from said utilities. Despite the challenges inherent in providing humanitarian aid to a warzone, the parties involved must keep in mind that such restrictions only further human suffering in the region. 

As part of a ceasefire, there must also be an unconditional release of all civilian hostages by Israel and Hamas. Last month, during the temporary ceasefire, Hamas released 100 hostages in exchange for approximately 300 Palestinian prisoners held by the IDF. Recently, three escaped hostages who had previously been held captive by Hamas waved a white flag and shouted for help in Hebrew, but were shot and killed by the IDF, who had mistakenly identified them as a threat. This tragedy serves as a reminder of the brutal treatment of hostages during war. People should not be used as bargaining chips.

We recognize that the privilege of writing this editorial from relative safety in the U.S. is one that not everyone shares. Samer Abudaqa, a Palestinian journalist for the TV network Al Jazeera, was killed in an Israeli airstrike while working, according to the network. Abudaqa is one of more than 60 journalists who have been killed in Gaza since Oct. 7, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists

As a student newspaper, we recognize the important role we have in condemning violence committed against journalists. We applaud anyone who has dedicated their life to exposing the truth, especially in times of war. 

According to The New York Times, on Oct. 30, Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu compared Israel’s military action against Hamas and unwillingness to sign on to a permanent ceasefire following the events of Oct. 7 to the United States’ military reaction to the events of 9/11 and the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Hamas also recently denied a temporary ceasefire proposed by Egypt; according to NPR, this may be in part because previous drafts of the proposal involved removing Hamas from power, and in part because Hamas says they will only accept a permanent ceasefire. 

As we watch these tragedies occur overseas, it’s difficult not to feel hopeless. While we realize that this editorial alone can’t end the war in Gaza, it is important to share our voices to stand in solidarity with our community. From vigils to protests, it is clear that the crisis has greatly affected many Davis community members. 

A ceasefire is not a perfect solution to this conflict. It does not address the conditions that existed before and the conditions that will exist after the war. However, when faced with a horrific and ever-increasing number of civilian casualties — it is a start to something better. If a diplomatic solution to this complex issue is to eventually be made possible, it will require a concentrated effort to care about the lives of civilians, and that begins with a ceasefire.

 

Written by: The Editorial Board 

 

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