Ceasefires Cost the Lives of Israelis, and Save Those of Terrorists

In recent negotiations mediated by Qatar, Hamas reportedly requested a three-day ceasefire in exchange for the release of some of its hostages. Meanwhile the word “ceasefire” is on the lips of every protestor, politician, or diplomat who wishes to criticize either Israel’s or America’s handling of the current war. Ron Ben-Yishai lays out six reasons, each convincing in itself, that Jerusalem should not accede to this demand. He also relates a story that, on its own, should settle the question:

During Operation Protective Edge in 2014, the UN secretary-general called for a ceasefire. An hour after the ceasefire came into effect, terrorists came out of a tunnel shaft near the city of Rafah and killed the Major Benayah Sarel, Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, and Staff Sergeant Liel Gideoni. This happened on August 1, 2014. Israel agreed to it the night before and the terrorists realized that this was their opportunity. They hit the fighters from a range of a few meters, grabbed Goldin’s body, lowered it down the shaft into the tunnel and within a few minutes were already in a safe shelter. His body has not been returned to Israel since.

In other words, Ben-Yishai concludes, “a ceasefire is merely a recommendation for Hamas, while the IDF sees itself obligated to uphold it.”

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More about: Gaza War 2023, Israeli Security, Protective Edge

Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security