“The success of the now extended truce and prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas shows that diplomacy works where military force does not. Despite the protestations of the US and Israeli governments, Israel and Hamas conducted the truce and prisoner exchanges under terms and circumstances that were available in the days immediately following the attack on October 7.
As has been widely reported, ceasefire and prisoner exchange opportunities were rejected by the Israeli government, while the US government refused to utilize its enormous leverage over Israel to induce Israeli acceptance of a ceasefire and prisoner swap. The result has been tens of thousands of Palestinian casualties, hundreds of Israeli military casualties, a thorough destruction of Gazan homes and infrastructure, increased regional instability and a collapse of progressive political support for President Biden’s re-election campaign.
For the sake of the people of Israel and Palestine, as well as regional stability and global peace, Israel and Hamas should further extend their truce. Negotiations should be expanded to include not just increased prisoner exchanges and a permanent ceasefire, but securing civil and human rights for all Israelis and Palestinians, an end to Israel’s occupation and the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state.
US foreign policy circles are full of commentators who argued against a ceasefire and prisoner exchange because, they claimed, Hamas could not be trusted. These are the same sorts of voices, massively over-represented in US media and political spaces, who were proven incorrect when they argued the US could not negotiate with the North Vietnamese, the Soviet Union, the Iraqi insurgency, the Taliban and other adversaries. They have once again been proven wrong.
The commentators who dismiss diplomacy and constantly and predictably argue for more war and weapons, most of whom are funded by the arms industry, should be ignored. At the same time, those promoting peace through dialogue, negotiations and reconciliation need to be acknowledged and heeded, as they are the ones who have been proven correct repeatedly. “