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153 countries have voted for the ceasefire, beside the governments, many people around the world demonstrate against the war and asks Israel to bring an end to the war. My question is that, what compensation do these proponents of ceasefire consider for the Israel? As the officials of the Israel have repeatedly declared, the war has two goals:

  • saving hostages
  • destroying Hamas

One who thinks that Israel must stop the war may have options for achieving these two goals with other approaches, or may think differently and believe that these goals are not legitimate or does not make the war legitimate. I want to know is there any claim that suggests any alternative for Israel instead of war from the supporters of the ceasefire?

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7 Answers 7

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There is likely not one goal among all those nations, but multiple.

  • Obviously, some countries openly support the Palestinians and consider Israel an enemy, including a good number that share the goal of wiping Israel off the map.
  • Some countries are not openly hostile to Israel, but on a geo-political scale (which the UN is), they oppose Israel either for strategic reasons or because they are allies or dependent upon a country in the first group. Iran proxies come to mind, but also anyone who needs someone like Saudi-Arabia to be friendly. This group may also include countries who see Israel as a US-proxy and vote against it because they consider this as opposing the US.
  • Some countries vote for reasons of internal policy. Many European countries have seen large pro-Palestine demonstrations on their streets and a vote like this is basically free - it doesn't require resources to be allocated, money to be spent or anything - it's a quick and easy way to offer these protesters something.
  • There are probably reasons I haven't covered. Politics can be complicated.

All these groups have different "alternatives" in mind. Some genuinely want to support Hamas. Some hope/believe that negotiations, peace, two-state-solution or something else is a better way than this war. Some understand that the vote does nothing and accomplishes even less and use it simply to show their allegiance with whoever they want to cuddle up to. Some want the death & destruction to disappear from their local news because it upsets their voters.

Note that IMHO none of these considerations include the officially stated humanitarian reasons. In the words of a famous politician of my home country: "Countries do not have morals, only interests."

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  • The quote got me interested in it's origin but I can't find it. Where is it from? (Closest I can find is "“Nations do not have permanent friends or enemies, only interests" apparently first spoken in Britain by Henry John Temple (aka Lord Palmerston) and possibly repeated (in slightly modified form) by Henry Kissinger.
    – Kvothe
    Dec 18, 2023 at 13:33
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    @Kvothe I remember it as a quote attributed to German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. There is apparently a similar quote by Charles de Gaulle ("Countries don't have friends, only alliances.") - it appears that it was a fairly common piece of wisdom around their time.
    – Tom
    Dec 18, 2023 at 18:17
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Frame Challenge: A ceasefire doesn't always mean "An end to the war", nor does it mean that one side of the conflict definitively met all their established goals.

Calling for a ceasefire can be considered attempting to achieve a permanent state of peace between Israel and Palestine, but that's a little optimistic. Even the ceasefire and treaty of Europe's "World War 1" (Originally referred to as "The war to end all wars") didn't guarantee that "World War 2" didn't kick back up 20 years later, after all.

But that's about wars that had a ceasefire armistice...followed up with an official treaty to end the war. We don't have to set our hopes that high, as there is precedence for a ceasefire without a treaty; namely, the Korean Armistice Agreement.

While there's more to the armistice there than I can cover, a few key points:

  1. Both North and South Korea declared that the peninsula should be united under their government, and they didn't get that from the armistice;
  2. They both agreed to abide by the terms of the armistice, even as it had terms about a demilitarized zone (DMZ) that was intended to stand as a buffer between the two nations until a peace treaty could be ratified;

Granted, for 2.), the peace treaty...hasn't come through, and one can argue about the effectiveness of the armistice, given other details that came up, and stuff like one side announcing that they wouldn't abide by it ~6 times since (According to the above link, North Korea announced they would no longer abide by the terms in 1994, 1996, 2003, 2006, 2009, and 2013. Don't know enough about the conflict to comment on South Korea's abidance by it, short of the President at the time of the armistice signing process refused to sign it, but agreed to abide by the terms in it.).

The above is why the phrasing is about a "Ceasefire" and not a "Peace Treaty" by people asking for a cessation of hostilities. Ideally, a ceasefire is the first step to the latter, but we can..."Get by" on a ceasefire for a while, even if neither side is meeting their intended and stated goals.

A ceasefire can contain some of a side's goals

Again, focusing on the Korean Armistice Agreement, there's this clause in it:

Within sixty (60) days after this agreement becomes effective each side shall, without offering any hindrance, directly repatriate and hand over in groups all those prisoners of war in its custody who insist on repatriation to the side to which they belonged at the time of capture.

So hypothetically, if Hamas and Israel agree to a ceasefire, part of the terms agreed to could be the safe return of hostages. It could include a DMZ between the parties of the ceasefire, and it may even contain terms to come to a peace treaty. What actually is part of the terms depends on what they'll agree to, and that is something that would have to be hashed out in negotiations of the ceasefire, and even some terms can be indicated as necessary for the relevant peace treaty and similar aspects, if possible to delay some goals until after a ceasefire is established.

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    The Korean example is interesting, but missing some context. Before the armistice you mention, how many times was there a cease-fire that was broken by one side brutally attacking the other side by surprise? This is important, because repeated breaking of cease-fire reduce the trust to the level that an armistice becomes impossible. Dec 18, 2023 at 19:28
  • @ErelSegal-Halevi: I may need to update the answer as a result of checking that, because while I don't know about before the armistice was agreed to, after the armistice was agreed to and North Korea apparently announced they weren't going to abide by it 6 separate times (My immediate search didn't indicate why they even could do that 6 times, but I presume they relented over negotiations), there is the Panmujom Declaration in 2018, which. might actually be the peace treaty that I mentioned that 2.) didn't lead to. Timewise it's late - Dec 18, 2023 at 23:00
  • - So I'd need to check if it's actually a proper peace treaty in alignment with the armistice, or if it counts as a renewed armistice that was signed by both parties, or specifically what it would count as. Dec 18, 2023 at 23:01
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    An "announcement they weren't going to abide by it" does not count. The question is whether they actually attacked South Korea, killing many citizens, after a cease-fire was agreed. Dec 19, 2023 at 6:20
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    The ceasefire the 153 countries voted for was a unilateral one by Israel wasn't it? I may have missed it but I didn't see a requirement for Hamas to agree to anything.
    – Simd
    Dec 19, 2023 at 15:12
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First, it's important to note that a ceasefire does not mean the end of the war, and that the war could be conducted in different ways. In particular, the indiscriminate bombing of civilians is not considered an acceptable war strategy by many countries.

This being said, let's follow OP's thinking and assume that most countries which ask for a ceasefire actually want the end of the war. It's reasonable to think that at least some of them want this.

There would certainly be different possible motivations, but probably one of them is the simple fact that no sustainable peace can be reached following the same endless cycle of revenge. The Israel-Palestine conflict has a very long history of one side attacking the other, then the latter seeking revenge and attacking back, then the same again, etc. Obviously there won't be any peace if this cycle continues (some extremists on both sides imagine that the other side will disappear; they are wrong). So one side has to stop or at least minimize their reaction at some point. Currently Israel is doing the opposite, probably reinforcing the future desire for revenge of many Palestinians, and therefore maintaining the endless cycle of violence. Thus it's likely that some countries wish for Israel (the strongest side) to act more responsibly in order to give peace a chance in the future.

As a side note, hostages are probably more likely to be saved by an intelligence operation than by an all-out war, as can be seen by the recent mistake made by the IDF. The goal of "destroying Hamas" is vague and is typical of a "revenge war", where the display of power is more important than the long-term goal. The War in Afghanistan was a good example of such a "revenge war" which didn't lead to any result.

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I want to know is there any claim that suggests any alternative for Israel instead of war from the supporters of the ceasefire?

Yes - it is called the two-state solution; it has been proposed repeatedly for decades, if my memory serves. As far as I can see this requires, among other things, that Israel engages honestly with the whole project, by withdrawing from the illegally occupied territories and removing the illegal settlements. Whether this is ever going to be a plausible scenario is uncertain, unless the US withdraw their unconditional support.

Israels current policy of eradicating Hamas is impossible to achieve without killing all Palestinians; there more indiscriminate killings, the more followers Hamas will have. I would have thought this is obvious - at least it is to me.

Finally, to forestall the usual accusations of anti-semitism: I'm not saying that Israel shouldn't exist - Israel is a fact and the Jews have a legitimate right to have a homeland. But it seems to me that the biggest enemy Israel has is their own government, who have for too long allowed the most radical, Jewish elements in their society to dominate.

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  • Does any other ethnic or religious group have a right to a homeland? Just wondering. Do white Christian people have a right to have a white Christian homeland? Jan 8 at 7:58
  • Put like that, no really. However, the state of Israel is a reality on the ground, and the unfortunate reality of these matters is that the 'right' of any nation rests mostly on their ability to hold on to what they have. This perhaps makes Israel's situation precarious, since their military might appears to depend heavily on USA's willingness to continue supporting them, something that ought to inspire a more compromise-seeking mindset.
    – j4nd3r53n
    Jan 8 at 17:00
  • If "right" means "reality" to you, please use the word "reality" instead. Jan 8 at 17:57
  • @user253751 No - the only rights anybody has, are the ones granted by the reality of the situation. I don't believe in divine rights, because I don't believe in gods, and you may enshrine all kinds of rights in big words, but it is the reality of the situation that determines which rights you actually have. Which is why, the richer you are, the more rights and freedoms you have.
    – j4nd3r53n
    Jan 9 at 12:36
  • It makes absolutely no improvement to anything to refer to a "reality" as a "right" unless that reality happens to coincide with some kind of moral principle (what is usually referred to as a "right"). Jan 10 at 4:24
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My question is that, what compensation do these proponents of ceasefire consider for the Israel?

A cease-fire is not in itself a loss or detriment for which there needs to be a compensation.... but, to be honest, your question is pertinent, as: (i) The current events are a unilateral Israeli attack with localized resistance and an occasional statistical rocket barrage; and (ii) The states supporting a cease fire have so far not been willing to threaten Israel with any sanctions should it disagree.


What Israel could get is:

  1. The government would be able to pin the cessation on foreign pressure - which is much easier than deciding on doing so by itself. This is doubly significant considering how Netanyahu is under pressure from the strong ultra-right 'Jewish Zionism' party within his coalition, making it even more difficult to take such a measure of his own volition.
  2. This act will weaken somewhat the perception of Israel as a rampaging irrational actor bent on genocidal punishment of the population of Gaza - as it will be engaging with the international community, restraining itself etc.
  3. The chances of a prisoner-detainee-hostage exchange will increase (although some might contest this point; depends on who you ask).
  4. Israel would kill less of its own hostages.
  5. Netanyahu would avoid yet anoter row with the (Democratic) US administration, which has been expressing displeasure with the extent of civilian deaths. This is also significant considering how support for Israel has been decreasing among Democrats, and it, and Netanyahu, have been drifting into being more closely associated with the Republican party and Trump in particular.

But I'm not claiming that Israel will actually go for a ceasefire in the coming days. It may and it may not.

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    -1 1) This isn't answering the question. 2) The Israeli hostages are not prisoners, they are hostages. "prisoner exchange" is very much not what would be happening and using the term whitewashes Hamas atrocities. 3) The people imagining a "genocide" are not basing that on any actual facts. What Israel does or doesn't do wouldn't affect their perception.
    – tim
    Dec 19, 2023 at 16:49
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    1) It is, see the quote at the beginning of the answer. 2) Will rephrase my answer; in Hebrew it is often referred to as Hilufei Shvuim, which is "exchange of the captured".
    – einpoklum
    Dec 19, 2023 at 17:06
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    @tim: And about (3.) it doesn't matter how well the perception is based; it's a perception right now, and even the pope says Israel is engaged in terrorism, so they could definitely benefit from a PR respite.
    – einpoklum
    Dec 20, 2023 at 0:12
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    #1: True, but I seem to remember Netanyahu has some official position in Israel at the moment... #2 The question of how Israel is perceived is perhaps disputable, but I don't think you can dispute the deterioration in its perception and the potential improvement from agreeing to a cease fire. #3 Disagree, but that's my appraisal and yours may differ #4 You bet wrong. AFAICT, neither Hamas nor PIJ has in the past executed hostages; plus - the whole point of taking people hostage is to keep them alive for an exchange. #5 Who are the Sozis ? Anyway, geopolitical imperatives are actually...
    – einpoklum
    Dec 20, 2023 at 15:36
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    ... now changing, with Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Ethiopia and UAE set to enter BRICS and the Saudi-Iranian talks, brokered by China continuing it seems.
    – einpoklum
    Dec 20, 2023 at 15:38
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153 countries have voted for the ceasefire, beside the governments, many people around the world demonstrate against the war and asks Israel to bring an end to the war. My question is that, what compensation do these proponents of ceasefire consider for the Israel?

Israel began the current offensive in response to the Hamas raid on Oct 7th which broke a ceasefire and killed roughly 1100 Israelis with two thirds being civilians. In response they killed 1000 Hamas militants that had raided the border, secured it and launched an offensive in which around 22, 000 civilians have been killed, most of them women and children. These are not Hamas civilians.

Now Israel claims that it follows international law. This is what it means when it says it is the only democracy in the middle east and has the most moral army in the world.

Now the ICJ is a recognised body in international. Further, Israel has signed up to the Genocide Convention. South Africa has presented a case to the ICJ that Israel is committing genocide. If the court finds in favour of South Africa, then what you are asking for is that the perpetrators of a crime against humanity - genocide - should be paid compensation. This is obviously wrong. The question will be what scale of reparations must Israel pay to Gaza?

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    International law is a sham, a farce. It doesn't really exist. Jan 8 at 7:59
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    @user253751: Really, can you substantiate this claim? Can you tell me in which court is South Africa is charging Israel with genocide? And if the court is sham then why is Israel preparing to defend itself? Jan 8 at 8:13
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    @user253751: Are you sure you mean to say, "I think international law is a sham"? You are of course entitled to your opinion, but I don't see why I need to bother responding to it. Jan 8 at 8:15
  • "in response they killed 1000 Hamas militants that had raided the border, secured it and launched an offensive in which around 22,000 civilians have been killed" - 1. The 1,000 Hamas monsters killed are about 1/3 from the monsters that took part in the attack. 2. "Israel Secured the Border"? Was the border before 10/7 secure, or people just assumed it is? 3. "22,000 civilians killed" - that's much higher even than Hamas' untrustable numbers. 4. What is the difference between war and genocide? They seem like synonyms.
    – Jacob3
    Jan 9 at 20:18
  • Well, that int'l law is a sham is a typical position from Russians and fellow travellers, these days. For obvious reasons. (In fact, very soon they may have additional reasons.) Jan 28 at 3:25
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Tl;dr Israel's goals aren't limited to the goals presented in the question. If they were attempting to achieve them by destroying Gaza is counterproductive. Proponents of cease-fire argue that prisoner exchanges can free the prisoners and that Hamas cannot be defeated militarily. Thus, the alternative proponents support is "something else other than destroying Gaza since that causes untold suffering to civilians."

The answer is divided into three parts. The first explains why Israel's impetuses are different from the ones described in the question, the second how the prisoners can be freed, and the third why Israel's current attempt to destroy Hamas is counterproductive.

Political situation in Israel

Analysts doubt that Israel's goals are to free the prisoners and destroy Hamas. Israel's president has suggested that all Gaza Palestinians are complicit in Hamas' attacks:

“It is an entire nation out there that is responsible,” Herzog said at a press conference on Friday. “It is not true this rhetoric about civilians not being aware, not involved. It’s absolutely not true. They could have risen up. They could have fought against that evil regime which took over Gaza in a coup d’etat.”

Other Israeli politicians have called for the complete destruction of Gaza.

In another statement, Feiglin said Israel’s end goal should not be to eliminate Hamas, but rather, “Gaza should be razed and Israel’s rule should be restored to the place. This is our country". [...]

Amit Halevi, meanwhile, a Likud member in parliament, said, “There should be two goals for this victory: One, there is no more Muslim land in the land of Israel … After we make it the land of Israel, Gaza should be left as a monument, like Sodom”. [...]

“Nakba? Expel them all,” Nissim Vaturi, deputy speaker for Israel’s parliament, said.

Israel's defense minister has made equally violent comments:

“We will eliminate everything — they will regret it,” said Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, the man who commands all the military forces that are doing the bombing. [...]

“We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly,” he adds.

Israel is wrecking havoc and destruction on Gaza and that may also be its government's goal. Almost 60% of all Israelis want their army to destroy even more of Gaza:

Poll results were also hawkish when it came to the use of force in Gaza: 57.5% of Israeli Jews said that they believed the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were using too little firepower in Gaza, 36.6% said the IDF was using an appropriate amount of firepower, while just 1.8% said they believed the IDF was using too much fire power, while 4.2% said they weren’t sure whether it was using too much or too little firepower.

Israeli journalist Shimon Riklin recently admitted having trouble sleeping unless he saw Gaza houses destroyed on tv. Satiating the public's bloodlust is a goal in and of itself. As anti-Netanyahu protests mounts, cynics may conclude that is the only way to save his government. This explains the motive for bombing Gaza, even if the stated goals are not achieved.

According to sources speaking to the left-wing 972-mag, freeing the prisoners never were the primary goal:

Another source told +972 and Local Call that the Israeli army tried to avoid killing hostages, but the emphasis at first was placed on military goals. “In the first two or three weeks, we didn’t have enough intelligence about the hostages, and they were not the top priority,” the source said. “We didn’t start the day with an update on the status of the hostages. It wasn’t our top priority then — and the truth is, they aren’t today either. Unfortunately, I don’t think the army can [free the hostages through rescue operations]. I don’t think we will be able to release hostages without a deal.”

The same sources claimed that the indiscriminate bombings of Gaza actually put the prisoners lives in danger.

How to free the prisoners?

According to Gershon Baskin, who negotiated the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2011, the only way to get the prisoners back alive is to negotiate a prisoner exchange. Something Hamas, unlike Israel, has been willing to agree to since day one. And Israel's bombing campaigns against Gaza clearly puts the prisoners lives at risk.

How to destroy Hamas?

It is unclear what destroying Hamas means or how it can be achieved. According to Palestinian prime minister, Baskin, and many others Hamas can't be destroyed with force as it is an ideology. Israel has also tried to destroy the PLO and Hizbollah many times in the past. Each time the humanitarian costs have been massive, but the attempts still failed. Few believe that this attempt to destroy Hamas will end any differently:

Citing a study commissioned by retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, which said for every civilian killed about 10 terrorists are recruited, Moulton said: “By that number, Israel so far killed about 5,000 Hamas terrorists but in the process they’ve recruited about 100,000 new adherents. And this is bad news for Israel.”

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    In a speech a few weeks after the Israeli campaign against Gaza started, the head of Hebzallah, Hassan Nasrallah, said that this campaign is similar to that of Lebanon 2006 in having two goals which aren't concrete, realistic military objectives: Destroying a political movement with a military wing, and freeing the hostages.
    – einpoklum
    Dec 20, 2023 at 10:58
  • As you note in your post, this is not an answer to the question, which was "What compensation do proponents of ceasefire consider for Israel?".
    – CDJB
    Dec 20, 2023 at 11:44

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