I begged Hamas for a ceasefire, but they said: No, bring it on

Top Israeli peace activist says Israel had no choice but to defend itself


By Gershon Baskin, July 10, 2014
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An Iron Dome launcher fires an interceptor rocket in Ashdod on July 8th

An Iron Dome launcher fires an interceptor rocket in Ashdod on July 8th

I spent hours this week trying to convince my main Hamas contact to speak to his leaders to call for an immediate, unconditional, 24-hour ceasefire in order to stop the escalation.

My message made it all the way up to Khaled Mashal, Hamas's leader. I wanted to help prevent the inevitable deaths of innocent people and the destruction that this war would cause.

I tried to impress upon him the seriousness of Israel's preparations for a ground attack, including the fact that it has called up 40,000 reserve soldiers. I tried to appeal to his sensibilities regarding the unnecessary deaths of so many innocent people. I am quite sure, having known him for eight years, that he agreed with me.

The Hamas leadership decided to ignore the possibility of a ceasefire and instead challenged Israel to "bring on" the battle. These irresponsible leaders are criminals to their own people.

I can honestly say that Benjamin Netanyahu did not want to escalate this war. It is so unfortunate that Hamas leaders, some sitting in hotels abroad and others safely hiding underground in Gaza, put the innocent people of Gaza in the direct line of fire.

Force alone will never be a proper response to human suffering. Israel had to respond with force, I am sorry to say, but Israel must also present a plan for addressing the real and urgent human needs of the 1.7 million people in Gaza, or this ongoing war will never end.

To all of my Palestinian friends and others on the left: Instead of empty words, how about explaining what you would do if you were Israeli prime minister facing hundreds of rockets falling down on your citizens? Would you surrender to Hamas and say, please shoot us, it's ok, we understand your anger? Is that what you
would do?

Get real! How about proposing something constructive? That is what I have tried to do. Where is your constructive and logical contribution to the discussion? I don't need to hear empty condemnations with no positive suggestions.

To all the right-wing people who have nothing constructive to say: Your criticisms and words of hate do not help anyone and are not welcome.

I am tired of these conversations of hate. Say something constructive.

Last updated: 4:56pm, July 10 2014