OpinionIsrael at War

Hamas’s cruel game

The hostage crisis has backfired on the terror group.

People walk next to pictures of civilians held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, in Jerusalem, November 22, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** 
דגל ישראל
People walk next to pictures of civilians held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, in Jerusalem, November 22, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** דגל ישראל תמונות נעדרים לוח מודעות מלחמה
Joseph Frager
Dr. Joseph Frager is a lifelong activist and physician. He is chairman of Israel advocacy for the Rabbinical Alliance of America, chairman of the executive committee of American Friends of Ateret Cohanim and executive vice president of the Israel Heritage Foundation.

On Oct. 7, Hamas perpetrated one of the most horrendous acts of evil that civilization has seen since the Holocaust. It is now trying to make a show of its supposed humanity—which does not exist—by releasing kidnapped women and children.

This decision is purely for public consumption and to please the media. In reality, Hamas is playing a cruel game in an attempt to win the psychological war as well as the battle on the ground.

In fact, the release only took place because the IDF is enjoying significant success on the battlefield, forcing Hamas to release more than two hostages at a time, as they were doing before Israel began its ground operations. Clearly, then, Israel must expand this operation to southern Gaza in order to force Hamas to free the remaining hostages.

Even though Hamas grossly underestimated Israel’s response to the terror group’s horrific massacre, it knew full well the desperation and anguish they would cause by taking hostages. They sought to inflict maximum pain on Israeli society. They also hoped that the hostages would serve as bargaining chips they could use to ensure their survival.

But Hamas is wrong. The release of 50 hostages will not stop Israel’s military advance. The fact that some 200 hostages remain in Hamas hands only gives Israel more incentive than ever to continue its operations.

It also keeps U.S. President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the fight. If Hamas released all the hostages, it is highly unlikely that Biden would agree to Israeli operations in southern Gaza. As a result, the hostage crisis has taken on a whole new dimension. In the end, the crisis will determine how long the Biden administration will back Israel’s military operations.

Of course, Biden will try to delay Israeli operations in southern Gaza by claiming that he is using diplomacy to get the remaining hostages out. This is the same reasoning that prevented Israel from launching a ground invasion for three weeks. Israel could have caught Hamas on the run had it started ground operations sooner.

Israel cannot make this mistake a second time. The best hope for the hostages is for Israel to completely defeat and destroy Hamas. Biden has to let the IDF do its job, because when Israel wins, America wins. Thankfully, there are already signs that Hamas’s cruel game is backfiring.

Israel must continue its ground invasion. It is working. If anything will secure the release of all the hostages, it is victory. I look forward to that day.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war. JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you. The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support? Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates