An agreement between Israel and the government of Gaza for a partial hostage release apparently is about to be finalized. The details are not yet clear, but it looks something like this:
Various reports of the deal have indicated that somewhere between 50 and 100 Israeli and foreign hostages would be released, in exchange for a five-day break in fighting and the release of somewhere between 150 and 300 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. Reports over the past week have said that Israel was demanding the release of all the children held in Gaza and their mothers as a condition.
Between 50 and 100 Israeli civilian and foreign hostages would be released, but no military personnel, and in exchange, some 300 Palestinians would be freed from Israeli jails, among them women and minors, according to sources cited by AFP.
The agreement is expected to be approved by Israel’s cabinet, although “[t]wo far-right parties were set to vote against the deal.” In this case, count me with the “far right.” I don’t like the deal for three reasons.
1) A five-day break in the fighting will help Hamas to regroup, and take the pressure off the terrorists, at least temporarily. My preference would be for Israel to pursue total victory relentlessly and without interruption.
2) Reportedly, three times as many terrorists are to be released as Israelis. Why? If there is to be an exchange, why shouldn’t it be one for one?
3) The terrorists imprisoned in Israel have been convicted of crimes, while the Israelis held hostage by Hamas are innocent people who were snatched in a criminal raid. Where is the equivalency? Hostages should be released unconditionally.
Historically, taking hostages has paid off for the Gazans. Exchanges like this one will continue that tradition and encourage more hostage-taking, as with “the 2011 deal to release more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners — including Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, thought to be the mastermind of the October 7 massacre — in exchange for captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.” The Israelis find themselves in a war of annihilation, and in my opinion, they should get on with it, making October 7 the last time–ever–that Palestinians dream of taking hostages.