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How about marching for the hostages’ return?

Simplistic and naive: the Jewish Community of Bermuda's headquarters (Photograph by Stefano Ausenda)

Dear Sir,

I would like to address the organisers and participants of the pro-Palestine march this weekend.

I appreciate your commitment to advocating for peace and justice in the Middle East, and I understand the concerns and compassion that drive your efforts, but where were you when nearly a million people were killed in Syria by Assad or during the continuing genocide in Sudan?

How about marches against brutal atrocities in Haiti? Ukraine? Colombia? Myanmar? Or Venezuela? I didn’t see them. And now, you think it appropriate to march essentially for a terrorist regime using its people unapologetically as human shields?

That being said, I would like to offer a different perspective on the situation in the region.

Israel, like any sovereign nation, has the right to defend itself against threats to its security and the safety of its citizens. The ongoing conflict in the region is complex and multifaceted, with historical roots and geopolitical dynamics that must be taken into consideration. It is simplistic and naive to believe that Israel is responsible for all the ills of the Middle East. Additionally, bringing Israel to court on spurious allegations of genocide does not make it guilty.

It is important to acknowledge that it was Hamas, the militant terrorist group that governs Gaza, which attacked Israel on October 7, 2023 in the most brutal and savage attack on more than 1,200 peaceful civilians. Must I remind that they were raped, beheaded, burnt alive and more?

Hamas has also been responsible for launching thousands of rockets indiscriminately towards Israeli civilian populations, which it continues to do. These attacks are causing fear, trauma and loss of life among Israeli citizens, including women and children. Thank goodness for the Iron Dome air defence system, which has saved thousands and thousands of lives. But not everyone.

More than 240 innocent people of over 24 nationalities were taken hostage — 120 of them, including babies, young women and the elderly, remain somewhere in Gaza. No one has heard from most of them in eight months; nor have they been allowed visits by any international groups such as Red Cross, which is a war crime.

Hamas leaders have expressed as recently as this week that they do not feel remorse and that they would continue to attack in this brutal and savage manner as much as possible in the future. That requires some thought … I mean that’s outrageous!

Israel has a duty to protect its citizens and to respond to these threats in a manner consistent with international law.

While the situation in Gaza is undoubtedly tragic, it is essential to recognise that Israel has taken steps to minimise civilian casualties, including issuing warnings before military strikes and providing humanitarian aid to the Palestinian population, where it is known that Gaza has not a shortage of food but a distribution problem because of Hamas’s brutal control of whatever gets in to Gaza. The Israeli Government has also expressed a willingness to engage in dialogue and to pursue peaceful solutions to the conflict. Do you think Hamas wants peace?

I urge all parties involved to work towards de-escalation, dialogue and reconciliation. A lasting peace can be achieved only through mutual understanding, respect for each other’s rights and a commitment to coexistence. It is my hope that both Israelis and Palestinians can find a path towards a peaceful and prosperous future for all.

One ought to realise, too, that if Hamas puts down its arms and returned the hostages, this could come to an end immediately. How about marching for that?



Jewish Community of Bermuda

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Published June 21, 2024 at 8:00 am (Updated June 20, 2024 at 7:21 pm)

How about marching for the hostages’ return?

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