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Friday, May 24, 2024
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Letter to the Editor: Re: Letter from Jewish UW Faculty in Support of Protestors for Divestment and Ceasefire Daily Cardinal May 2, 2024

Editor’s note: Letters to the Editor and open letters reflect the opinions, concerns and views of University of Wisconsin-Madison students and community. As such, the information presented may or may not be accurate. Letters to the Editor and open letters do not reflect the editorial views or opinions of The Daily Cardinal.

Dear editor:

In signing the Oslo Accords (1993/1995), Israel did what no Arab state had ever done for the Arabs of Palestine -- afforded them the opportunity to live under the administration of leaders of their own choosing. While the Accords envisioned that negotiations on setting mutually acceptable borders for Israel and a Palestinian state would be completed by 2000, little progress was made. Israel even removed all Jewish communities and Israeli security personnel from Gaza in 2005. Two years later, the Palestinians in Gaza elected Hamas (which proceeded to kill or run off members of the Palestinian Authority (PA) opposition).

Neither the PA nor Hamas has made much progress in building a state in which the Palestinians could become productive citizens. The PA says its highest priority is the maintenance of its "Martyrs Fund" which pays lifelong stipends to Palestinians who answer the PA's call for violent resistance to the "Occupation."

While claiming that an Israeli blockade prevented the development of the economy in Gaza, Hamas spent $1,000,000,000 building an extensive network of terror tunnels, so deeply embedded among the populace that Israel's exemplary efforts to avoid killing civilians (as praised by Maj. John Spencer, director of Urban Warfare Studies at West Point) are bound to be less than 100% effective.

Hamas' October 7 attack on Israeli civilians changed the rules of engagement. Prior to that date, Hamas generally attacked by firing missiles which were intercepted by Iron Dome and Israelis were usually safe in their shelters when some missiles managed to reach population centers. But, during the October 7 ground invasion, Israelis were tortured and murdered as gangs broke into the Israelis' safe rooms or burnt their houses down. The atrocities committed were openly advertised by Hamas and other groups which participated in the attacks, and were celebrated by many Palestinians. Israeli leaders concluded that protecting Israel's people requires the demilitarization of Gaza and the deradicalization of the Palestinians.

Rather than calling for divestment from Israel (the nation-state of the Jews where non-Jews have full civil rights) and a ceasefire which will leave Hamas able to make good on its promise to inflict multiple October 7 atrocities on Israelis, true peace seekers should be calling for Hamas to release the hostages and surrender.

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