The way forward in negotiations: Only in the hands of Hamas

Blinken and Netanyahu. Wikipedia

Against the background of the advance of Division 162 to the heart of Rafah and the increased pressure on Hamas, in parallel with reports about an attempted assassination attempt (probably a successful one) of Ra’ed Saad, one of the senior members of the terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip, no progress is being made in negotiations to release the hostages. It seems that the parties are at the same places in which they were six months ago, shortly after the end of the previous deal – points between which are a long and irreconcilable distance and no mutual existence.

According to senior political officials, Israel has already “gone all the way” and has agreed to the maximum possible concessions on its part in such a deal, at a level that “there is nothing more to discuss.” Given this reality, the only tool left to Israel is the military pressure and military presence in the Gaza Strip, in the Netzarim corridor and on the Philadelphi route – a tool that Israel cannot give up now under any circumstances.

According to reports, Qatar is putting a lot of pressure on senior Hamas figures to accept the outline proposed by Israel, published by President Biden and even received the approval of the UN Security Council, regarding a few months’ break in the fighting and a partial withdrawal of the IDF in exchange for the return of dozens of hostages. Qatar’s own prime minister is involved, as is U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, in the pressure on Hamas.

Why is Hamas so firmly refusing to compromise? It seems that the terrorist organization is convinced that time is playing out in its favor, and as time passes, the chances of a war in the north or a violent flare-up in Judea and Samaria, which will lead to an increase in Israel’s attention and a greater readiness for far-reaching compromises. Israel must, therefore, prove to Hamas that time is playing against it – something that can be done by increasing pressure, successful assassinations, or any other significant achievement.

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