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December 30th, 2008
12:36 PM ET

Stop. Hold your fire

A column of Israeli armored vehicles is deployed in a farmer's field Tuesday near the Gaza border.

A column of Israeli armored vehicles is deployed in a farmer's field Tuesday near the Gaza border.

David Grossman
Haaretz.com

After its severe strike on Gaza, Israel would do well to stop, turn to Hamas' leaders and say: Until Saturday Israel held its fire in the face of thousands of Qassams from the Gaza Strip. Now you know how harsh its response can be. So as not to add to the death and destruction we will now hold our fire unilaterally and completely for the next 48 hours. Even if you fire at Israel, we will not respond with renewed fighting. We will grit our teeth, as we did all through the recent period, and we will not be dragged into replying with force.

Moreover, we invite interested countries, neighbors near and far, to mediate between us and you to bring back the cease-fire. If you hold your fire, we will not renew ours. If you continue firing while we are practicing restraint, we will respond at the end of this 48 hours, but even then we will keep the door open to negotiations to renew the cease-fire, and even on a general and expanded agreement.

That is what Israel should do now. Is it possible, or are we too imprisoned in the familiar ceremony of war?

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Filed under: Israel • Palestine
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. stella

    The bombing of Gaza is the slaughter of innocent people. There can be no excuse. Shame on the international community and America for allowing Israel to continue this barbaric attack.

    December 30, 2008 at 6:09 pm |
  2. R.B

    We are approaching a tipping point in this region. This administration, the Israelis, and the Palestianians—are all running dangerosuly low on political capital, to say nothing about moral capital because we all know where that stands. You can't kill your way to peace. Until the root of this dilemma is impartially examined, and meaningful restitution or compromise is made between the parties, the costly skirmishes will continue, perhaps spilling over into neighboring nations, as they have in the past. The cycle of violence repeats. No this is NOT stage one of the conflict. This is stage ad nauseum. Have any of the particpants involved noticed the error of their ways? I know that's tough to do when you're running for cover. That's tough to do when peace is not the real intent. We have to ask ourselves: Are the active participant's in this conflict credible? Does anybody believe a word they say? Does their preaching sound hollow? Do they sleep at night? Do the old arguments make sense (did they ever)? Does the logic sound tired, even infantile after decades? Are you gaining your neighbor's lomg-term respect by your current actions? Can you really deal with radical elements by becoming like them by virtue of disproportionate hostilities, whether justified or unjustified? Where is the voice of enlightenment? Where is the voice of leadership? Where is the voice of right counsel from the clergy? From what I can see on the news every night , the cultures involved int the conflict don't value each other, as evidenced by their actions, and until they do, peace will be the dirt under their boots.

    December 30, 2008 at 5:40 pm |
  3. Annie Kate

    The suggestion for the state of Israel to hold its fire for 48 hours and meet at the peace table is a good one. I don't think Hamas will hold its fire though or show up at the peace talks but they will have demonstrated to the world that they are in fact the aggressor who recognizes no middle way to peace and Israel can defend itself hopefully without the world decrying its actions as aggression.

    December 30, 2008 at 5:39 pm |
  4. Panfilo Fuentes

    This war will not end nor will there be a cease fire until Israel gets all it wants, when it wants it and with the approval of the President-elect, yes, this is a test!

    Panfilo Fuentes
    Bakersfield Ca

    December 30, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  5. Andrew

    People need to learn that by killing the Palestinians to “ROOT OUT” the evil is not going to work; it didn’t work in Iraq did it? The only way to deal with this is diplomatically. We must learn what the Palestinians are angry about and try to compromise. The solution of placing 1.5 million people in an area the size of two Washington D.C.’s will not work. The Palestinians are in these ghettos and have nowhere to go because Egypt closed its borders and the only other boarders are to Israel. These people are trapped with no food water or medical supplies and are being devastated by Israeli overwhelming military offensive. There must be an immediate seize fire and since bush is on vacation I hope Obama will step up and do something.

    December 30, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  6. Panfilo Fuentes

    No but we are supporting the Indians, badly but supporting them. However, now we are reneging and want to tax their Casinos.
    With Jews, it is just take, take take!

    December 30, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  7. Cindy

    @ Bev C...we stole our land from the Indians so should we all move out and give it back to them!? In fact many nations are on stolen land! Your solution to the problem is not realistic!

    Cindy...Ga.

    December 30, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  8. Panfilo Fuentes

    It is silly to say that Israel is fighting this war; America is fighting this war by proxy. It is American planes, cluster bombs and homicide helicopters killing men women and children indiscriminately in Gaza.
    Oh, I know we don’t like to hear that, but who else would provide Israel these tools of death at first request. Just his year we opened a 12 million dollar super radar base for them and we are on the hook for 34 million in 2009.
    What do we American taxpayers get in return, nothing but grief and loss f money need t to help the average American consumer get food on the table?
    We need all funds for America, the nanny state is dead except as far as Israel, why is that?
    Jewish political influence is so great in our country today that in California a constituent cannot even excess his representative in the US senate if he des not support the Israeli position on everything, right or wrong.
    Let the Arabs and Jews fight their own fight and do not support either side, we all know that Israel will prevail…they already have American nuclear power.

    Panfilo Fuentes
    Bakersfield Ca

    December 30, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  9. Jim,

    I tell you what- if someone shoots at me they had better be darn sure they take me out with their first shot- otherwise they can kiss their behind goodbye. As far as I'm concerned Since Hamas wishes Isreal to be driven into the sea Isreal should should carpet bomb Gaza until its all below sea level & IS Sea maybe then they might get it through their thick heads- They don't care about Isreal's civilians so why shouild Isreal care about Palastinian civillians- Don't want to get civillians Hurt?- simple
    If your a civillian either LEAVE or take out the terrorist in your own nieborhood so someone else doesn't have to destroy the whole city to take out the trouble makers.

    December 30, 2008 at 1:19 pm |
  10. Bev C.

    Israel can come up with all the excuses they want. for doing what they are doing now. The fact is, they stole land from the Palestinians, plain and simple. Give them their land back. As for Hamas, they don't care about their own people – they're just concerned about their own "views", they are a bunch of terrorists. When you build a 40-foot concrete wall and keep the civilians locked up inside without the wherewithall to get food, water, etc.., you are nothing but an aggressor.

    December 30, 2008 at 12:46 pm |

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