Morton A. Klein and Elizabeth A. Berney
It is sickening to watch President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken once again backtrack on their pledges of “unwavering commitment to Israel’s security” by calling for a so-called “humanitarian pause” in the Israel-Hamas war, which is another name for a cease-fire.
A more accurate term would be a “Help Hamas Hiatus.” A cease-fire will harm Israel and help Hamas regroup and enhance its ability to attack Israel. Anyone who is really concerned about humanitarianism should be insisting instead that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad immediately release all their hostages. Period.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) rightfully called Biden’s call for a pause “obscene” and correctly explained, “Biden poured hundreds of millions of dollars toward Hamas, which then massacred 1,400 Israelis and dozens of Americans. Now he’s pressuring Israel to stand down so Hamas can regroup. He’s even pressuring Israel to send more fuel to the Gaza Strip, which Hamas will seize and use to attack Israel.”
It is shameful and dangerous to call for a ceasefire while Israel is fighting vicious, bloodthirsty, untrustworthy terrorist organizations. Hamas has broken every single past cease-fire, including eight cease-fires agreed to during the 2014 Gaza war. It used these cease-fires to attack, murder and kidnap Israelis and launch barrages of rockets at Israel. Hamas and PIJ will do this again if there is another cease-fire. This is why anti-Israel groups have been pushing so hard for one.
During a “humanitarian cease-fire” in 2014, Hamas ambushed Israeli soldier Hadar Goldin and stole his body, which it still holds. Hadar’s fellow soldiers were murdered. During another “humanitarian cease-fire” in 2014, Hamas launched the rocket salvos that murdered 4-year-old Daniel Tragerman and injured other Israelis. Hamas also used the time to execute 18 alleged Palestinian “collaborators” with Israel.
Simply put, Israel cannot agree to a cease-fire while the Hamas threat to Israel’s people continues. It is downright criminal to pressure Israel to do so after the catastrophe it just suffered.
Moreover, Hamas has pledged to repeat the Oct. 7 massacre of innocent Jews until Israel is annihilated. Senior Hamas official Ghazi Hamad vowed on Lebanese television on Oct. 24, 2023: “We will repeat Oct. 7 again and again until Israel is annihilated. … We will do this again and again. The Al-Aqsa Flood is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth, because we have the determination, the resolve and the capabilities to fight.”
We should also remember that Hamas is using Israel’s existence as a “justification” for plans to massacre millions of Jews. Hamad added, “The existence of Israel is what causes all that pain, blood and tears. It is Israel, not us. We are the victims. … Therefore, nobody should blame us for the things we do. On Oct. 7, Oct. 10, Oct. 1,000,000 — everything we do is justified.”
Yet despite this history and ongoing danger, during a campaign event in Minneapolis on Nov. 2, Biden said, “I think we need a pause.” Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) appropriately tweeted in response, “@POTUS — what happened to your ‘rock solid and unwavering support’ for Israel?”
Despicably, on Oct. 31, Blinken told the Senate Appropriations Committee that “humanitarian pauses must be considered” and promoted increased aid to Gaza, even though this aid would end up in Hamas’ hands and help Hamas to continue raining rockets down on Israel. For example, a recent intercepted Hamas conversation described Hamas stealing hospital fuel supplies.
It is also deeply distressing that the Reform movement’s leadership — including President of the Union of Reform Judaism Rick Jacobs, the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the American Conference of Cantors — is calling for a “humanitarian pause.” They need to retract this dangerous call, which conflicts with the Reform movement’s positive statements that it stands with Israel.
Now more than ever, America’s leaders and every stream of American Jewry need to unite behind Israel’s right to destroy Hamas and prevent Hamas from ever massacring Jews again, rather than forcing Israel into dangerous cease-fires. T
Morton A. Klein of Merion Station is the national president of the Zionist Organization of America. Elizabeth Berney is its director of research and special projects.