Tech billionaire Elon Musk is advocating for an alternate path to peace between Israel and Hamas amid their war in Gaza: “conspicuous acts of kindness.”
In an interview with podcast host Lex Fridman on Friday, Musk said Israel helping the people of Gaza would actually thwart the terrorist group’s intentions to rile up opposition to the Israeli government.
“[Hamas] really wanted to commit the worst atrocities that they could in order to provoke the most aggressive response possible from Israel, and then leverage that aggressive response to rally Muslims worldwide for the cause of Gaza and Palestine,” Musk said. “Which they have succeeded in doing.”
“So the counterintuitive thing here, the thing that I think should be done, even though it’s very difficult, is that I would recommend that Israel engage in the most conspicuous acts of kindness possible ever,” he continued. “That is the actual thing that would thwart the goal of Hamas.”
The war in Gaza began early last month after Hamas militants killed more than a thousand Israeli civilians in a surprise attack. Israeli military counterstrikes have since have killed more than 11,000 Palestinians, including more than 4,000 children, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.
Musk made clear that he was still in support of killing or jailing Hamas members when necessary, but that humanitarian initiatives in Gaza, for example, could squash Hamas’s support.
The idea appeared similar to the U.S. “hearts and minds” campaign in Afghanistan, which hoped to bolster opposition to the Taliban through civilian investment and support.
“There’s some talk of establishing, for example, a mobile hospital,” Musk said. “I recommend doing that. Just making sure that, you know, there’s food, water, medical necessities.”
Musk later noted that the Israeli bombardment effort and ground invasion of Gaza is likely to backfire on the country and create even more resistance to Israel, instead of stomping it out.
“For every Hamas member you kill, how many do you create?” he said. “If you kill somebody’s child in Gaza, you’ve made at least a few Hamas members.”
The comments come amid rising calls for a cease-fire in the conflict. The Israeli government agreed, at the behest of the Biden administration, to short four-hour pauses in fighting in order to help civilians this week, but it has not considered a full cease-fire.
French President Emmanuel Macron led calls for a cease-fire Friday, saying there is “no justification” for the Israeli war effort against civilians in Gaza.
“In the immediate term, we need to work on protecting civilians,” Macron said. “To do that, we need a humanitarian pause very quickly, and we must work towards a cease-fire.”
“It’s extremely important for all of us because of our principles, because we are democracies,” he continued. “It’s important for the mid-to-long run, as well for the security of Israel itself, to recognize that all lives matter.”
Musk has previously warned of the dangerous potential for escalation in the Israel-Hamas war, saying that it could easily spiral into “World War III.”
Late last month, he offered the use of his Starlink satellite internet service to humanitarian aid organizations in Gaza that could not communicate after Israel launched its ground invasion of the territory.