For An Unconditional Ceasefire in Palestine and Israel

Editorial, ASR 88

We mourn the victims of the genocide and ethnic cleansing by both Israel and Hamas. Neither Palestinian civilians nor Jewish civilians are responsible for the murders on October 7 nor for the killing in Gaza since. The killing must stop immediately.

Instead of making the release of hostages or prisoners a condition for a ceasefire, we should demand an unconditional ceasefire from both sides. Continued fighting is unlikely to get Hamas to release Jewish (and other) hostages and will most probably result in their deaths and those of innocent Palestinians. Palestinian civilians have no control over Hamas, which has established a dictatorship in Gaza. Hamas is a terrorist organization and does not care if Palestinian civilians are killed. The fact that Hamas is using Palestinians as human shields is no excuse for killing Palestinian civilians for “being in the way.”

We agree that Hamas as a terrorist organization should not exist, but that does not absolve Netanyahu and Israel of responsibility for the growth of organizations like Hamas or Hezbollah. The establishment of a Jewish ethno-state in a region already occupied by an indigenous Arab population was a nationalist folly doomed to failure. States don’t provide security for anyone but the ruling classes.

Instead of security for the Jewish diaspora, Israel has devolved into a settler colonialism where the Arab inhabitants have been driven from their homes to make way for fundamentalist Zionist Jews loyal to the Israeli regime. No progress has been made toward a “two-state solution”; instead the native Palestinians have been squeezed into ever-smaller areas that are little more than ghettos or open air prisons. This only feeds an unending cycle of violence.

We propose the replacement of Israel, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority with a democratic federation of communities and kibbutzim similar to that of the Rojavan Kurds. Palestinians should have equal status to the Jews, Christians and other ethnic and religious groups. Israel-Palestine should be a secular region without preference to any religion, and a prohibition of sectarian violence by anyone. Palestinians who have been displaced should be allowed to return to their original homes where these exist, or given reparations and help in rebuilding where these homes no longer exist.

It is not likely that Israel, the United States, or any of the surrounding states would support such a solution since it is not in the interest of their rulers. The only way this can come about is from the actions of the Israeli working class and Palestinians themselves, with the support of working people elsewhere. The alternative is an unending cycle of violence, brutalizing both populations and blocking democracy and freedom for all.

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