Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

VIEWPOINT: Call for a Humanitarian Ceasefire

VIEWPOINT%3A+Call+for+a+Humanitarian+Ceasefire

Four months after the tragic events of Oct. 7, Israel continues its siege on Gaza, one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with its aggressive assaults.

Home to about 2.2 million people living in merely 141 square miles, Gaza supports a population of about 15,600 people per square mile, making it approximately six times more densely populated than the average urbanized area in the United States.

Thus, any war in Gaza utilizing explosives as opposed to a concentrated task force immediately and consciously sacrifices the well-being of every citizen in Gaza, Palestinians and non-Palestinians alike. The many innocent people within the open-air prison of Gaza are not acceptable collateral in Israel’s genocidal war against Hamas, and a ceasefire is necessary to achieve political peace and uphold international humanitarian law.

If Israel wants peace, it will not be able to achieve it by adding to regional violence. Nearly 67,000 innocent people are injured on top of the over 27,700 already killed as of Feb.7, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Israel continues to target hospitals, stating that they are trying to neutralize Hamas bases. Satellite imagery, open-source visual information and releases from the Israeli military do not support Israel’s claims of a Hamas stronghold.

Additionally, the entire population of Gaza faces starvation and dehydration. More than one-third of all infrastructure in Gaza has been destroyed; 500,000 of the 1.9 million people currently displaced no longer have homes. 

The death toll in Gaza is unacceptable. The entire war is equally unacceptable. Israel claims self-defense and yet has proceeded to commit atrocious war crimes and annihilate entire families across multiple generations. Since the 1948 Nakba, the mass expulsion of 700,000 Palestinians creating an unresolved refugee crisis, Israel has fought in 15 wars against surrounding Arab neighbors — including Palestine — regarding their occupied territory. When viewed alongside the recent history of frequent wars, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent rejection of Hamas’ pleas for an end to the fighting in exchange for the release of hostages, suggests Israeli leaders have no true desire for peace. 

Some argue that Israel’s violence is an attempt to liberate Palestinians from the terrorist organization Hamas. These theorists see innocent Palestinian casualties as unfortunate but inevitable. This does not explain, however, why Israel dropped 2,000-pound, Pentagon-supplied bombs on regions in Southern Gaza that Israel designated as civilian safe zones. 

The U.S. government is understandably worried about American citizens that Hamas is currently holding hostage. Their continued support for Israel’s disorganized fighting contradicts this concern, especially when considering the three Israeli hostages that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) killed.

Israel’s actions are producing more souls to mourn, not restoring peace. Eva Borgwardt, the national spokesperson of Jewish advocacy group IfNotNow, expressed that the violent and genocidal language spouted by the Israeli government echoes Nazi Holocaust propaganda.

“As Jewish people whose ancestors went through the Holocaust, when we hear Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant use words like ‘the children of darkness’ and ‘human animals’ to describe Palestinians, we feel the resonances of that in our bones,” Borgwardt told CNN.

While pro-Israel groups claim that anti-Zionism is antisemitism, Rabbi Alissa Wise counters that this claim is manipulative and invalidating to Jewish history.

“The claim that it’s antisemitic is used as a cudgel to silence people and it’s really egregious, the way that they manipulate Jewish trauma,” Wise said to CNN.

Though the eradication of Hamas is justifiable, the unfortunate reality is that Israel is not eradicating Hamas. Israel is eradicating Palestine and Palestinians, a fact that is supported by the continued murder of innocents in the West Bank. 

We should not accept images of mothers holding their bleeding children, fathers walking family-less, doctors burnt out and crying and an entire race subjugated to a fate more horrific than one could ever imagine: an internationally televised genocide.

We must uplift the voices of the oppressed. I urge students to take the accusations levied against Israel seriously and acknowledge the harm Israel has caused to the Palestinian and Jewish communities alike. Antisemitism and Islamophobia are on the rise following the events of Oct. 7 and Israel’s response. 

Understanding the facts is vital. Equally important is seeking out human stories and resources to understand the emotional impact of the reality in Gaza. Art has served as a backbone for the resistance movements and is worth exploring: Poets like Mahmoud Darwish, honored as a Palestinian national poet, and Naomi Shihab Nye, a critically acclaimed and greatly awarded Palestinian-American author, are a great place to start. 

I acknowledge that no single article — including this one — could sum up this entire issue, nor its history. But from all I know, I am certain that a ceasefire is objectively and morally necessary.

The United States continues to uphold an unfair and inherently racist double standard regarding which lives are worth mourning. Israel continues to engage in war tactics that are ineffective, violent and, according to the International Court of Justice, in plausible violation of the Genocide Convention, the first U.N. human rights treaty intended to ensure the atrocities of World War II would “never again” plague our world. I ask my community to seek out truth amid the storm of information. God bless and keep Palestine in your prayers.

Saeed Samra is a first-year student in the College of Arts & Sciences.

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