“There are certain critical elements that any serious moral call for ‘ceasefire’ needs to include:
- There must be explicit clarity that Hamas—a designated terrorist organization— violated a ceasefire on Oct. 7, committing horrific acts of terrorism, and continues to commit war crimes by indiscriminately targeting Israeli civilians with ongoing rocket fire and by using Palestinian civilians as human shields.
- It should affirm Israel’s right to defend itself from terrorism, and to exist, as the International Court of Justice notably did this past week even as it pressed for greater humanitarian efforts.
- It must specifically include a call for a ‘negotiated’ ceasefire. Calls for unilateral ceasefires are, in effect, calls for Israel to capitulate to a terrorist organization and to abandon the hostages.
- It must affirm that any ceasefire that does not include a return of ALL of the Oct. 7 hostages is, in effect, leaving these people to endure conditions of permanent captivity and ongoing torture.
- It should never conflate Oct. 7 hostages with combat prisoners of war or with criminal detainees.
- The loss of civilian life in war is always tragic. We discourage using casualty numbers issued by the Gaza Health Ministry (which is controlled by Hamas). The casualties they have reported conflate civilian and active combatant deaths and have been repeatedly demonstrated to be unreliable.”
Excerpted from Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, “Thoughts About Local Ceasefire Resolutions,” January 31, 2024. Please read the full text, which holds relevance for conversations far beyond the local political context.