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Cease-Stupid, Not Ceasefire

If Biden has some notion about how to end this war, he should consider this easy-to-remember axiom: “Cease-stupid, not ceasefire.”
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June 2, 2024
U.S. President Joe Biden announces a proposed ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza on May 31, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Perhaps I heard it wrong. But I could swear that President Joe Biden just delivered a televised address at the White House about the war in Gaza. (Note, no matter how loud it is shouted by well-meaning ignorant people, or Jew-haters who side with savages, there is no “genocide” in Gaza.)

Biden proposed a multi-part peace process, allegedly initiated by Israel, that would include a six-week ceasefire, followed by an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, the exchange of some of the Israeli hostages (and the remains of the dead) for captured Palestinian terrorists, culminating in the rebuilding of Gaza.

Regarding the release of Hamas terrorists, one must remember that Yahya Sinwar, the mastermind behind the massacre on October 7, was set free in just such a negotiation back in 2011, where he was among 1,027 prisoners exchanged for one Israeli. A young soldier, Gilad Shalit, was returned to his family where, hopefully, the ensuing 13 years have been kind to him. But how many of those 1,027 accomplished terrorists participated in 10/7? Would the massacre have even occurred if Sinwar was still imprisoned?

I believed that Biden was mistaken in claiming the proposal came from Israel. Due to advancing age and a mind that was never all that nimble to begin with, I assumed that couldn’t have been the case.

And it appears I was right. Israel knows its enemy, and the region in which it is tragically located. It might be the Holy and Promised Land from the Old Testament, but ever since 1948, the Jews who rebuilt their original homeland have been encircled by the worst neighbors imaginable—people who would gleefully burn down their own houses for the satisfaction of seeing the Jewish state in flames.

Israel is an imperfect democracy, but it nonetheless is a liberal, cosmopolitan, largely secular society filled with a wealth of rational, deliberative Jewish brains. If Biden has some notion about how to end this war, he should consider this easy-to-remember axiom: “Cease-stupid, not ceasefire.”

Biden’s staged appearance was doubtlessly intended for the Muslims of Dearborn, Michigan, a key battleground state. Pathetically, he has been treating them as a constituency, rather than as a fifth column. To many he is called “Genocide Joe.” He won’t receive their support no matter how obsequiously he prostrates before voters who, quite honestly, prefer an Islamic caliphate to a liberal democracy.

Think I am exaggerating? Ask Europeans how things have worked out for them.

Any proposal that gives Hamas time to reconstitute, pretend to be diplomats and “peacemakers,” and continue to win the affection of the Palestinian people, is tantamount to handing Israel a suicide vest. You can rebuild Gaza, but you can’t prepare it for statehood if its chief national project is purging the world of Jews—wherever they might be.

Any proposal that gives Hamas time to reconstitute, pretend to be diplomats and “peacemakers,” and continue to win the affection of the Palestinian people, is tantamount to handing Israel a suicide vest.

The grotesque crimes committed on 10/7 must result in the killing or capturing of everyone who took part—including the 550 “innocent civilians” who rampaged the kibbutz Nir Oz, where they raped and abducted Israelis, even selling some to Hamas. These are all criminals who committed barbaric acts.

The West is unused to seeing barbarism up close. That’s one of the reasons some disbelieve what happened on that day. What kind of people would do such things? One-word answer: Gazans. Our laws are inadequate to address these crimes.  Extraordinary measures are necessary. Atrocities, after all, are not the same as ordinary murder. All perpetrators should receive what they deserve—no discounts, do-overs, excusing, leniency and, most assuredly, no permanent ceasefire.

The equivalent number of Americans that would have to be killed in order to match what occurred on 10/7 is approximately 42,000—American babies beheaded and burned alive, and girls gang-raped and mutilated. Imagine the scale and moral dimension of losing that many American civilians—and in such a manner.

Meretricious antisemites who occupy and disrupt college campuses, city streets and bridges, and who pledge their allegiance to Hamas while replacing the American flag with a fictional Palestinian one, are completely unmoved by 10/7. How might America have responded to such an unfathomable loss?

Most Israelis seem to agree that the hostages, or their remains, must be returned. But under no circumstances should the fighting be abated. Before the IDF puts down its weapons, Hamas and its enablers must receive their just deserts and cease to exist. That’s the only acceptable ceasing. The moral universe demands no less.

But it raises the question: After six months, why is a single Hamas terrorist still alive? The derring-do days of the Six-Day War are, apparently, over. Israel once vanquished four Arab armies in less than a week. Egypt, Israel’s fiercest nemesis at the time, never got a plane off the tarmac. Entire squadrons were destroyed by Israeli airstrikes.

In the five earlier wars with Hamas, these terrorists were dispatched in a matter of weeks. Each war left Gaza in ruins, but somehow Hamas survived to rebuild its arsenals and groom yet another multitude of willing human shields. In 2014, President Barack Obama aggressively pestered Israel to exercise “restraint.”

Regrettably, they did just that. Israel left Gaza without obliterating the entirety of Hamas’ stockpiled weapons, detonating all of their tunnels, and eliminating all of their battalions.

It is also true that Hamas is no longer just a ragtag bunch of genocidal Islamists misfiring rockets. They more resemble a real army these days. Iran helped to raise their game with advanced weaponry, sophisticated surveillance and terror tunnels that are more lavish than any apartment building in the Strip.

Worried about starvation in Gaza? Where do you think all of those billions have gone?

Given this new reality, can the IDF ultimately complete this job, knowing the mandate that Hamas can no longer terrorize Israelis? And how long will it take?

Meanwhile, for the morally lazy—those prone to leaving crucial tasks undone— consider this: A four-year-old, red-headed boy, Ariel Bibas, last seen wearing a Batman t-shirt, is still being held hostage. His fate, that of his baby brother Kfir, and his parents Shiri and Yarden, remains unknown.

Yes, Palestinian babies have been killed in this war. But that’s only because their parents, at Hamas’ behest, have placed them in harm’s way. Who other than Islamists would behead and kidnap Jewish children, and seal the fate of their own?

Message to Joe Biden: No further talk of a ceasefire until a Batmobile races across the Negev Desert to bring Ariel home.


Thane Rosenbaum is a novelist, essayist, law professor and Distinguished University Professor at Touro University, where he directs the Forum on Life, Culture & Society. He is the legal analyst for CBS ɫ Radio. His most recent book is titled “Saving Free Speech … From Itself,” and his forthcoming book is titled, “Beyond Proportionality: Is Israel Fighting a Just War in Gaza?”

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