Israel rejects Hamas’ demands

Wikipedia, yossipik

The negotiations between Israel and Hamas for the release of the abducted Israelis appear to have reached a dead end, with the talks in Paris between Israel and the abridging countries (especially Qatar) failing to overcome the gaps in the demands of both sides. Of course, the underlying conceptual gap that blocks progress is that Israel has finally realized that it is impossible to exist alongside Hamas, and certainly not when it has weapons and political capabilities – but that gap will not be said out loud.

Israel went above and beyond with Hamas in laying proposals for the release of additional hostages: The release of 35 hostages – women, children, sick, old, female soldiers – with a full day of truce for each released person, and a undetermined amount of released terrorists. Israel also expressed willingness to grant an extension to this ceasefire in order to discuss the “second phase” of the deal, which would include the release of the remaining prisoners and probably require a very significant extension of the ceasefire, in a way that would almost put a halt to the war. But the response from Hamas, which came with a significant delay, was long and cumbersome, and in practice put an impossible bottom line: The end of the war and the “Israeli aggression,” and even the lifting of the siege from Gaza. Such a conclusion, for Israel, is in fact a refusal of the proposal – and Israel has responded by publicly rejecting Hamas’ demands.

So, what path is left to free the remaining hostages in the Gaza Strip, 136 people – with a ‘New York Times’ investigation published yesterday claiming that almost a quarter of them are definitely not alive? At the moment, it appears that the diplomatic path has been blocked, and that the military option is the only one left on the table. To Put more pressure on the remaining Hamas battalions, on Hamas leaders in particular, when, according to Israeli officials, “If there is a chance for a deal, it is only because of the military pressure. The IDF needs to be sitting on Sinwar’s neck, and that he understands he is a moment away from death. He has no other reason. He doesn’t need fuel, medicine and food. He needs to think that in a minute he will be finished, with all of his friends in the leadership.” Of course, at the same time, the official negotiations will continue, and as von Clausewitz said, “War is the continuation of policy by other means.” In our case against Hamas, it seems that war and military pressure must become the default.

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