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A ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza war is a great start but Hamas must still be stopped, writes Stephen Rigley
27 November 2023, 13:37
The sight of kidnapped children scooped up in the arms of their overjoyed family members after weeks of unimaginable hell as Hamas hostages should bring joy to the world.
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Let's take the case of Emily Hand. How heartwarming it was to see her back with her family just weeks after her anguished father felt compelled to say that he was glad she was dead rather than endure hell at the hands of Hamas.
Today Hamas is due to release another 50 hostages while Israel will release a further 150 Palestinian prisoners in exchange.
But will those newly released prisoners behave? We can't lose sight of the fact that Hamas massacred hundreds of ordinary Israelis including women and children less than two months ago.
Since that dreadful day, Israel has come under sustained pressure to declare a 'Humanitarian' ceasefire. World leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar have been calling for this.
Was America under worldwide pressure to negotiate with Al-Qaeda after 9/11? France with ISIS after the Paris terror attacks?
No, so why should Israel be treated differently? It is a sovereign state.
Can I say this is not understating the hell that the residents of Gaza are living through.
More than 13,300 Palestinians have been killed, roughly two-thirds of them women and minors, according to the Health Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza, which does not differentiate between civilians and combatants.
The war has claimed the lives of more than 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians killed in the initial attack.
A ceasefire will enable the international community to swing into action and get aid required to feed, shelter, and get hospitals up and running again.
History teaches us many lessons and for a lasting peace in the Middle East the hostages need to be returned but Hamas must also be neutralized.
Hamas are increasingly politically isolated. Even old allies such as Hezbollah are largely staying silent.
And the only way it can survive is if Israel is forced to stop their operation due to international pressure.
The ceasefire is great news as is the return of the hostages but the peace must last otherwise the familiar story of bloodshed in the Middle-East will return.
And that means Hamas must be stopped.