Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former US secretary of state, recently expressed support for Israel’s stance on ending Hamas’s rule in Gaza and emphasized that a ceasefire at this time would be seen as a surrender. In her op-ed “Hamas must go” published in The Atlantic on Tuesday, she suggested that humanitarian pauses to allow aid and civilians to move out would be a more prudent approach than a full ceasefire, which would leave Hamas in power and potentially lead to their rearmament and the continuation of violence. Clinton’s position aligns with the Biden administration, contrasting with the “Squad,” the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, who have called for an immediate halt to the Israeli offensive in Gaza.
Having served as secretary of state under former president Barack Obama and his vice president, Joe Biden, Clinton played a key role in negotiating a ceasefire after Hamas’s rocket attacks on southern Israel in 2012. She argued that freezing the conflict at that time was acceptable, but Israel’s policy of containing, rather than destroying Hamas since 2009, has failed, and a ceasefire now would only benefit Hamas. Congressman Brad Sherman also supported the notion of completing the job in Gaza before any ceasefire is reached.
While President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have advocated for “humanitarian pauses,” a Reuters/Ipsos survey indicated that the majority of Americans, including both Democrats and Republicans, agree that Israel should call for a ceasefire and attempt negotiations. However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected a deal for a five-day ceasefire with Hamas, insisting on the release of the estimated 239 hostages being held in Gaza as a precondition for any ceasefire.
Netanyahu reaffirmed Israel’s position to continue the campaign in Gaza and eliminate Hamas, emphasizing that there will be no ceasefire without the release of the hostages. Israel’s opposition to a ceasefire was also expressed by Yechiel Leiter, Netanyahu’s former bureau chief, at the funeral of his son, who was killed in Gaza, calling it a war of light against darkness, truth against lies, and civility against murderous barbarism.