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Do not set up Hamas to strike again

A cease-fire now would be a big win for terrorism

Protester at an Oct. 28 Seattle rally calls for a ceasefire. Associated Press/Photo by Lindsey Wasson

Do not set up Hamas to strike again
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When Hamas terrorists killed more than 1,400 Israelis, many rightly expected Israel to respond, especially as they snatched over 240 hostages, mostly civilians, moving them from Israel to Gaza. Indeed, the overall international sentiment was supportive of Israel to defend itself and to seek the release of the innocent captives, after the widely confirmed update that many Israeli women were raped and infants were mutilated by the Hamas fighters.

But many in the world seem to have the memory of a fish. Now the virtue signaling crowd—mostly online—demands an immediate cease-fire for humanitarian reasons. The demand is directed only to the “powerful” Israel, although Hamas continues—on a daily basis—to launch rockets towards major inland Israeli cities, severely damaging areas in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, let alone the skirmishes and missiles from Hezbollah in the north.

While we should all hope and work diligently for the end of this war very soon, the notion of a cease-fire now is a bad idea for at least two reasons.

First, Hamas is completely uninterested in peace with Israel—not in a thousand years. A cease-fire is what the terrorists want, in order to regroup and continue their attacks on Israel.

This is evidenced in how Hamas never ceases to attack Israel nor declare their pride in it. In a recent interview, Ghazi Hamad, a chief Hamas leader, comments on the Oct. 7 attack against Israel and insists, “We must teach Israel a lesson, and we will do this again and again.” For Hamad, the attack against Israel “is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth.” To the fanciful dreamers in the world who think that a cease-fire might help, Hamad, as an official Hamas leader, has a message: “Israel is a country that has no place on our land. We must remove that country, because it constitutes a security, military, and political catastrophe to the Arab and Islamic nation, and must be finished.”

No sane person believes that, if Israel accepted a cease-fire now, Hamas—or its Iranian allies—would follow course.

Hamas uses the “humanitarian” card as a tactic to seize the world’s sympathies.

Second, Hamas uses the “humanitarian” card as a tactic to seize the world’s sympathies.

For Hamas, “war is deceit,” which is an Islamic lesson, famously taught by Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, in his wars against the non-Muslims of Arabia. While undoubtedly many politicians lie and deceive, Hamas has strong religious support for deploying these tactics. This is evident in how Hamas advances competing messages to the world.

To some, Hamas cries out “cease-fire” to save our children against Israel’s aggression, but to others, Hamas says come all, Arabs, and let’s “fight” to annihilate the Jews from the land. Hamas deploys these competing messages knowingly, as they rely on the world’s sympathy for innocent civilians.

But don’t be fooled: When Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, they knew exactly what they were doing. From the beginning the terrorists knew that their only way forward would be to use the “humanitarian” card to negotiate with Israel, since it would be under international scrutiny once the war began.

It is a naïve notion, mostly promoted by left-leaning fanciful propagandists, that a cease-fire will help Palestinians. It might temporarily, but to really help the Palestinians, Hamas must go. In fact, to help the region and bring peace, Hamas cannot be a player in any possible deal. They even oppose the official Palestinian Authority. The terrorists are more interested in killing Israelis than protecting Palestinians.

Just consider the obvious—where are Hamas’ major leaders? Are they bravely fighting in the streets of Gaza? Of course not! Most of them live comfortably in Doha, Qatar, or in Turkey, gaining tons of financial support “for the Palestinian cause” while enjoying their cable interviews as they shout, condemn, and affirm through mere political statements. All the while, Palestinians suffer.

Also consider this: Why did Hamas build its infamous network of underground tunnels? To protect civilian Palestinians? Of course not! These tunnels are to serve its fighters, while the Palestinians are left in the open to pay the price of Hamas’ aggressive attacks. When innocent Palestinians suffer from the attacks, Hamas’ propagandists preach to them, calling them to be ready to die as martyrs for Allah’s cause.

The world must combine efforts to cripple Hamas and allow Palestinians to live and eventually to thrive. A cease-fire now is a bad idea. It will only aid Hamas’ continuation of harming both Israelis and Palestinians. As long as Hamas survives as a threat, the war has not yet accomplished its goal.

A.S. Ibrahim

A.S. Ibrahim, born and raised in Egypt, holds two PhDs with an emphasis on Islam and its history. He is a professor of Islamic studies and director of the Jenkins Center for the Christian Understanding of Islam at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has taught at several schools in the United States and the Middle East, and authored A Concise Guide to the Life of Muhammad (Baker Academic, 2022), Conversion to Islam (Oxford University Press, 2021), Basics of Arabic (Zondervan 2021), A Concise Guide to the Quran (Baker Academic, 2020), and The Stated Motivations for the Early Islamic Expansion (Peter Lang, 2018), among others.

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