Irrational Israel: On the ceasefire proposal and Hamas

Netanyahu is prioritising his political future over his country’s interests 

Updated - May 09, 2024 10:08 am IST

Published - May 09, 2024 12:20 am IST

When Hamas announced on Monday evening its acceptance of a ceasefire proposal mediated by Qatar and Egypt, jubilant crowds in Rafah, the besieged town in Gaza’s south where over 1.4 million people have taken refuge, took to the streets in the hope that a feared Israeli invasion would be averted. But their reprieve was short-lived as Israel immediately said the proposal “doesn’t meet its core demands”. Israel had already announced the evacuation of over 1,00,000 people from Rafah. A day after Hamas accepted the proposal, the Benjamin Netanyahu government sent tanks to Rafah and seized the Gaza side of the strip’s border crossing with Egypt. Now, Israel is practically controlling all entry points to Gaza, and most of them remain shut. To call Gaza’s existing situation a disaster would be an understatement. The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have killed over 34,000 Palestinians since October 7. Over 77,000 Palestinians have been wounded and nearly the entire Gaza has been displaced. Its northern and central parts are already uninhabitable. The UN says there is a “full blown famine in northern” Gaza, while a hunger crisis has spread across the enclave. Hundreds of thousands of people forced out of their homes in the north and centre, where IDF soldiers have been deployed, are now living in temporary shelters in Rafah. And the Israelis are again asking them to evacuate.

When Israel came under a gruesome attack on October 7, the world expressed its solidarity with the Jewish nation. But the way Israel has conducted its war on Gaza ever since is not different from what Hamas did to the Israelis. Mr. Netanyahu’s government unleashed a collective punishment on the entire population of Gaza, with support from powerful allies in the West. But despite the disproportionate use of force against the Palestinians, Israel’s military performance is a far cry from what it was known for decades ago. Israel has neither managed to defeat Hamas nor get the hostages released. If Mr. Netanyahu goes ahead with the plan to invade Rafah, he would be making a terrible mistake. If the war comes to an end, he might face challenges to his political career. But if the war goes on forever with more killings of Palestinians, the state of Israel, already isolated and facing a genocide case at the UN’s top court, would be weakened further internationally. The only practical way out of this humanitarian and political calamity and moral abyss is a quick negotiated ceasefire that would see the release of all hostages and an IDF withdrawal. Even Hamas, undoubtedly a ruthless terrorist organisation that would not baulk at inflicting suffering on the very people it claims to represent, has shown a willingness to sign a deal. The question is whether Mr. Netanyahu is ready or not.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.