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Wab Kinew's Call for Israel-Hamas Ceasefire Misguided

Wab Kinew's Call for Israel-Hamas Ceasefire Misguided
Israel-Hamas Ceasefire Misguided

Wab Kinew, Premier of Manitoba, issued a statement on March 11, 2024, calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. The statement also opens with his admission that Hamas should be destroyed and that he has a great desire to be a good friend and ally to both the Manitoba Palestinian and Jewish communities.

That sounds all warm and fuzzy but it’s an obvious attempt to politically pander to constituents especially given that neither Hamas nor the Israeli government will be taking direction from Mr. Kinew. But nonetheless it’s a nice soundbite – the problem is that it reveals a tremendous amount of ignorance and naivety on the part of our premier. His call for a ceasefire in Gaza demonstrates that he does not truly understand what is happening in the region.

First of all, recent reports from the U.S National Security Agency state that a 6-week ceasefire deal has been on the table with one basic minimum requirement - that Hamas releases women, wounded and elderly hostages. But Hamas is refusing to do so, which is what is causing the impasse in ceasefire negotiations. The NSA even chided the media for its failure to report that point. Secondly, our premier needs to be reminded that a ceasefire was in place prior to October 7th and that it was Hamas that broke it after slaughtering hundreds of innocent Israelis. Hamas had a choice, made their choice, and now must deal with the consequences of that choice.

So obviously, if a ceasefire is ever going to be possible, both sides need to agree on terms, one of which is the release of hostages. If Hamas truly desires a ceasefire, then all it needs to do is release women, wounded and elderly hostages. And if it desires an end to all fighting entirely, then it simply needs to lay down its arms. But again, that is not happening, which speaks to Hamas’ motives – they are clearly not interested in a cessation of violence. Why? Because it would not serve their mission – the annihilation of the Jewish state. And they do not appear to be interested in humanely distributing food and medicine to their affected population that they claim to represent and govern. Shooting at citizens from the roofs of aid trucks is not an act of good governance. It is what has necessitated the humanitarian airdrops by the U.S. and other aid organizations to try to get food and water to Gazans.

Obviously, a ceasefire would help with the distribution of aid to Gazans, but according to individuals who are much closer to the conflict, the notion of a widespread famine is being grossly overstated for propaganda purposes – more food, water and medicine is coming into Gaza than prior to Oct. 7th, but Hamas has been hijacking truckloads and redirecting goods to local markets to raise funds for its war efforts. International aid and assistance is meaningless if the governing entity of the region does not wish for it to be received by its people. Many Gazans are indeed in need of food – but it’s not been for the lack of effort or means by the international community to supply it.

Make no mistake – this is a war. Israel not only has a right to defend itself, but it is prosecuting a war it did not instigate in a manner that minimizes citizen casualties and increases its own risk. Civilian casualties are tragic and unfortunate. But remember, Hamas is known to hide amongst the population and its infrastructure, having built intricate tunnel networks connecting to hospitals, homes and even a United Nations agency (UNWRA), complete with weapons caches. And the media often neglects to mention that Hamas continues to fire rockets into Israel and that many protesters in the west and abroad continue to call for the eradication of Jews and Israel. One only has to look at the shocking demonstrations at several American universities to grasp the level of antisemitism that is rife in today’s society.

Therefore, calling for a ceasefire may serve a political agenda, but it ultimately will not serve either Palestinians or Israelis well if it allows Hamas to regroup and maintain its brutal stranglehold on the region. Hamas can end this war tomorrow by releasing its hostages if it so chooses. But barring that outcome it must be soundly and thoroughly defeated. Talk of a pluralist dual state solution with Hamas still in existence is both naïve and reckless. Hamas will not stop attacking Israelis – it has dismissed any prospect of a peaceful co-existence with Israel and upholds an extremist military doctrine committed to destroying the Jewish state. And it clearly does not have the best interests of its domestic population in mind either.

A ceasefire now will only facilitate greater atrocities and an endless cycle of war with Hamas. Mr. Kinew knows this but is more interested in being “everybody’s friend and ally” to suit his own political agenda.


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