Why are some experts skeptical of a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas?

As the death count climbs and international outcry grows, not everyone is convinced that an immediate cease-fire is the right way to end the bloodshed

Two rifles with the barrels tied in a knot
(Image credit: Illustrated / Getty Images)

It's been one month since nearly 1,000 Hamas militants entered southern Israel, murdering more than a thousand people before retreating back into the Gaza Strip with hundreds of hostages. In response, Israel has spent weeks pulverizing the densely packed Palestinian territory with massive aerial bombardments and a ground incursion, killing more than 10,000 people, with thousands of children among the dead. Set apart from past conflagrations by the sheer scale and ferocity of violence on display over the last month, the ongoing bloodshed has transcended mere regional conflict and become a global issue, with world leaders, activists, affected communities, and opportunistic actors all weighing in on the various antecedents to — and antidotes for — the ongoing crisis. 

Among the various messages to emerge from that global cacophony, perhaps none has become as pressing, or as potentially fraught, as the call for an immediate cease-fire between Israeli forces and Hamas militants. On Monday, nearly two dozen United Nations agency heads and partnered NGOs demanded an "immediate humanitarian cease-fire" writing in a joint statement that "It’s been 30 days. Enough is enough. This must stop now.” At the same time, a coalition of 35 Israeli Jewish and Arab Rights Groups made a similar call, writing in an open letter that "Israel must strive for a stable cease-fire, within which negotiations for a political agreement will be started immediately based on mutual recognition of the right of the two peoples to self-determination," according to Haaretz. And this weekend, thousands of protesters in Washington, D.C., vented their frustrations with the Biden administration's response to the violence, threatening the president with chants of "no cease-fire, no votes" CNN reported. 

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Rafi Schwartz, The Week US

Rafi Schwartz has worked as a politics writer at The Week since 2022, where he covers elections, Congress and the White House. He was previously a contributing writer with Mic focusing largely on politics, a senior writer with Splinter News, a staff writer for Fusion's news lab, and the managing editor of Heeb Magazine, a Jewish life and culture publication. Rafi's work has appeared in Rolling Stone, GOOD and The Forward, among others.