Nate Watson: Fact-checking cease-fire opposition

People take part in a protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and call for the release of hostages held in the Gaza Strip by the Hamas militant group outside of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in Jerusalem, Sunday, March 31, 2024. Tens of thousands of Israelis gathered outside the parliament building in Jerusalem on Sunday, calling on the government to reach a deal to free dozens of hostages held by Hamas and to hold early elections.

People take part in a protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and call for the release of hostages held in the Gaza Strip by the Hamas militant group outside of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in Jerusalem, Sunday, March 31, 2024. Tens of thousands of Israelis gathered outside the parliament building in Jerusalem on Sunday, calling on the government to reach a deal to free dozens of hostages held by Hamas and to hold early elections. AP PHOTO/LEO CORREA

Published: 04-01-2024 5:58 PM

Modified: 04-02-2024 11:32 AM


In his March 29 guest column [“Northampton’s cease-fire resolution a ‘rush to judgment”], Barry Roth expressed his opposition to cease-fire resolutions, saying their backers misunderstand the conflict, yet offered some questionable claims.

“Most every death in Gaza is mourned by the people of Israel,” writes Mr. Roth, without offering evidence. Yet 75% of Jewish Israelis recently polled support invading Rafah, where 1 million Palestinians shelter. Furthermore, why do Israeli civilians block aid from reaching those whose deaths they will supposedly mourn?

The writer praises Israel for dropping leaflets warning civilians of attacks, ignoring their frequent bombings of safe zones they designate. He calls their bombings “targeted,” while almost half the bombs dropped are unguided and 60% of Gaza’s infrastructure is damaged or destroyed. Echoing replacement theory, Roth insinuates that Gaza’s population growth since 1948 indicates Palestinian success within a “demographic war.”

Aside from failing to connect population growth to quality of life, human rights, or life expectancy, he omits the fact that 70% of Gazans are refugees, driven into an area 25% the size of Hampshire County. He concludes by stating that Palestinians’ right to return compromises a Jewish state, necessary for Jewish safety.

I disagree with two premises. First, that Western countries bear no responsibility for the safety of their Jewish populations (including myself). Second, that reparations for suffering a genocide should include the right to colonize and establish a religious ethnostate.

I’m still hopeful that Mr. Roth would agree that reparations for genocide should not include permission to commit one.

Nate Watson

Northampton

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