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A Permanent Ceasefire Needs to be Enacted to Save Lives
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Cesar Toscano

Feb 02, 2024

This past week, Chicago protests led to a symbolic vote for a ceasefire. All Americans should strive to end the suffering in Gaza as a part of the global society

South Africa’s genocide case against Israel came with global support. Weeks before the case, the United Nations voted for a ceasefire that ended with 153 votes in support with only 10 votes against and 23 absentees. The U.S. rejected the resolution due to the absence of the Israeli right to defend itself against Hamas. 


Contrary to reactionary analysis, this issue did not start on Oct. 7 and has been a result of imperialism in the region since the early 20th century. As Americans, it should not be difficult to acknowledge the damage our nation has done in the Middle East and Latin America. Our nation has provided weapons and resources to Israel since the 1950s and created a heavier imbalance that had already existed due to imperialist origins in Israel’s creation. 


Most critics of Israel still believe that Judaism should have a home but critique the way it was obtained. Since 1949, the state of Israel has taken over most of the land that had already belonged to the Palestinian people. Some would argue it was a result of war brought about by the Palestinians, but it is fair to argue that when people are oppressed, they have a right to retaliate. For many, those supportive of Israel, namely Zionists, also mix the frustration of oppressed civilians with Hamas. It should be noted that many of the frustrations of Hamas and Palestinians come from the same origins: systematic oppression and decades' worth of dehumanization. However, I want to clarify that Hamas and the Palestinian people are not the same and that Hamas has committed war crimes that they should be heavily punished for. This black-and-white perception has dehumanized Palestinians and, in turn, killed many innocents. 


Even before Oct. 7, settlers and IDF soldiers on the West Bank killed more Palestinians than in the years prior to 2022, often claiming they were threatened. Worst still, most murders of Palestinians in the West Bank rarely ever get investigated. 


Israeli leaders have also referred to the Palestinian people as being almost animal-like. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has an especially controversial history with Palestinians. He has been quoted after the attacks, saying, "You must remember what Amalek has done to you, says our Holy Bible. And we do remember.” This quote is a reference to the Torah about when God told ancient Israel to kill a whole nation of people called the Amalek down to the children and mothers. Critics of the war used this as a critique of Israeli intentions in the war, seeing it as a way to essentially eliminate the Palestinian people. To some, this critique was unfair since Netanyahu might have been comparing the Amalek to Hamas rather than all Palestinian people. However, whether intentional or not, 10,000 children have been killed by the IDF or died of starvation and disease due to limited resources imposed by Israel. 


The dehumanization of human life has to be the reason for all this. To see the carnage of Gaza: the images of dead children and countless stories of whole families being wiped out in seconds and to not feel grief and shame would make many question one’s humanity. 


But let’s say it needs to be done to protect Israel and its future. That Israel and the U.S.’s veto of a ceasefire is the right thing to do until Hamas is completely destroyed and Israeli restrictions of borders and resources are needed to keep security safe.

 

I ask two vital questions: How many innocents will have to suffer for one nation’s security? And what will happen again when those oppressed want freedom? I don’t believe these are unfair questions, just questions that Israel supporters are either too scared to answer or respond to with inhumane demands and justifications. 


If Israel truly saw Palestinians as people, they would find a more peaceful solution. That is the reason South Africa is leading the case; they also went through the process of apartheid and know how dehumanization leads to the loss of value of human life. South Africa isn’t perfect but they know the effect of oppression. Israel is committing war crimes, and at the very least, we as not just Americans but as a global society should stop the carnage that has become a genocide in Gaza by passing a permanent ceasefire. 

 

Acknowledgment: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author. 

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