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Only Hamas can end the war in Gaza

The onset of the Israeli-Hamas war has brought with it unspeakable slaughter and trauma, putting many lives in grave danger, with civilian well-being being harmed the most. The calls to free Hamas’ Israeli hostages have been ignored. Calls for a ceasefire, albeit noble, have tended to neglect the fates of the hostages.

For six weeks, the Biden administration offered a ceasefire allowing the exchange of hostages from Gaza, where as they defined them as “the sick, the wounded, elderly and women.” The Israeli government agreed to the deal, but Hamas failed to accept such terms. The U.S., in cooperation with the Israeli government, has made countless offers for a ceasefire with Hamas, but Hamas has not been on board. A reason for this is the nature of the terrorist organization, which is seeking to harm innocents to achieve the long-term goal of a one-state solution under Palestinian control. The U.S. has committed to a two-state solution even though many Israeli parties are in opposition. Certain factions of the current Israeli government have endorsed a one-state solution under their own control, but the pursuit of such a policy would damage relations geopolitically in terms of funding from the U.S. in the future.

Reporting from the United Nations has noted the grave danger hostages in Gaza are under. A recent report noted sexual violence is common in these situations, as Hamas has sought to remove the dignity of Israelis for their “extremist ideology.” Sadly, it might take months or years until we’re able to understand the full extent of the brutality the hostages have faced in these horrific situations. These acts are war crimes that should be grounds for bringing the leaders and senior military commanders of Hamas to the Hague for their crimes against humanity. 

A general recommendation by the UN has been for the hostages to be freed, but as noted by Vice President Kamala Harris, Hamas must first agree to the ceasefire. Unfortunately, the offer to free hostages was not agreed upon. We will see countless lives held captive, particularly those of women who are held in horrific conditions and subjugated to sexual violence such as rape and mutilation. This is not, as some will protest, Israel’s fault but the fault of Hamas for failing to agree to such terms and continuing to defame the image of the Palestinian people. 

It must be up to the international community to not demand justice asymmetrically by placing the blame entirely upon Israel but focusing blame on Hamas as well. Even though the Biden administration has worked tirelessly time and time again to negotiate a ceasefire to allow aid, hostage release, and even prisoner swaps, Hamas is failing to agree to those terms. If this is to be the case, then it should be up to the Israeli Defense Forces to pursue the goals of liberating Gaza and facilitating a two-state solution in handing Gaza back to the Palestinian Liberation Authority with the help of U.S. pressure. This will be the best solution in allowing peace, as much as it can, to flourish in a volatile region. 

Horrors of war will never stop so long as conflict continues. We are humans sharing a common identity amongst one another, desiring a better future for everyone to live in. It is our job to stand up against injustices and evil that torment the world. For those committing atrocities, as observed with the hostages, we must charge those complicit with crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court. Bringing them to a sentence here has more meaning, as it displays to the world that we as humans will not tolerate such barbaric actions of rape and sexual violence on the battlefield fueled by a motive of extremism to remove one person’s dignity and identity.

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