Here’s What We Mean When We Say Ceasefire

Save lives. Ceasefire Now!

Last Updated on November 3, 2023.

A statement from Sara Haghdoosti, Win Without War Executive Director:

I and Win Without War call on the Biden administration to do everything in its power to push for an immediate, unequivocal ceasefire in Gaza.

Let me be clear about what I, and Win Without War, mean when we say an immediate ceasefire.

We mean an immediate stop to all the forms of horrific collective punishment being unleashed by the Israeli government on the people of Gaza. The siege that takes away food, water and medicine must end. The bombing campaign must end. The threatened, ruinous ground invasion must not begin.

A ceasefire cannot provide justice to the many Palestinians and Israelis who have been harmed in this conflict, and it is no guarantee of lasting peace. But it has many virtues all the same. It can happen quickly, without extended negotiations or broad agreement between the parties. It is well within the Biden administration’s power to request, as one the key allies of the Israeli government. It does not require the Israeli government to abandon any effort to defend against further Hamas attacks in Israel, only to halt its destructive offensive in Gaza. Most crucially, it can make a massive difference in people’s lives.

A ceasefire can save lives in Gaza. When we demand that the U.S. government agitate for one, it is us saying that everyday people in Gaza deserve dignity – and their horrific treatment has no justification or excuse.

A ceasefire can help safeguard the hostages taken by Hamas. Every hour they remain away endangers them further, and a ceasefire makes their release more likely.

A ceasefire can provide safety for people in Israel. We are horrified by Hamas’s attacks, but there is no safety to be found in retributive violence and collective punishment. Violence begets violence. Every moment this conflict continues puts people in Israel in danger.

A ceasefire creates opportunities to bring much-needed humanitarian aid into Gaza and address the widespread harm caused by the ongoing siege and shelling.

A ceasefire can reduce growing regional tensions, which threaten to cause the conflict to spiral in ways that would endanger exponentially more people than are already under threat. Forestalling a regional conflict is vital, and U.S. leadership in pursuing a ceasefire will be an asset in diplomatic efforts to prevent it.

A ceasefire can keep people in the U.S. and around the world safe. My children have Jewish and Muslim heritage. With threats against synagogues and horrific Islamphobic attacks rising in the U.S., they are less safe in their hometown than they were two weeks ago. This conflict has already spilled over and is impacting people outside the conflict zone, and that impact will only grow if the violence continues.

As someone who grew up and lived in Australia, I have been blessed with learning from Indigenous wisdom and power. I quote I often hold with me is from Lila Watson, a Gangulu woman, who said:

“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

Calling for a ceasefire is a recognition that our liberation is bound up in each other. We know this, we’ve lived this.

I remember when my Jewish friends and colleagues showed up to airports to protest Muslim bans, and marched alongside me against the war in Iraq. They were there for me, just like I was when I went to my local synagogue after the horrific Tree of Life shooting to say I was with them, their pain was mine, that none of us are free until all of us are free.

This conflict is already horrific, but it is on the precipice of becoming far worse, with the Israeli government threatening a full-scale ground invasion of Gaza. But there is still time for the Biden administration to intervene to protect the everyday Gazans who are suffering today and would bear the brunt of an invasion. None of us are free until we all are.

October 20, 2023