OpinionIsrael at War

Israel’s risky hostage deal

Concessions to terrorists mean that you have lost and they have won.

Pictures of civilians held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, in Jerusalem, Nov. 14, 2023. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.
Pictures of civilians held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, in Jerusalem, Nov. 14, 2023. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.
Tom Rose
Tom Rose is former chief strategist and senior advisor to Vice President Mike Pence. He was publisher and CEO of The Jerusalem Post and hosts the Bauer and Rose Show and Podcast on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio Channel 125.

The agreement between Israel and Hamas to secure the release of Israeli hostages has ignited a firestorm. While the desperation of the hostages’ families and the desire to save as many as possible is understandable, the decision to negotiate with the world’s most evil terrorist group comes at a terrible price.

Those objecting to negotiations with Hamas rightly argue that any discussion with barbaric murderers imperils the principle established in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 genocidal massacre: No government of the State of Israel can treat Hamas as anything but an existential enemy that must be completely destroyed. Cutting deals with such a group weakens Israel’s condemnation of Hamas and challenges the very foundations of its stance against ever negotiating with terrorists or conceding to their demands.

Hamas, at the moment it faces destruction and collapsing public support, has now been given an opportunity to restore its shattered image by presenting itself as a force that through horrendous mass murder has achieved the return of its terrorists. Thus, the hostage deal risks not just restoring some of Hamas lost legitimacy, but also permits Hamas to tell its supporters that it has turned defeat into victory.

When kidnappers are rewarded for taking hostages, more hostages will be taken. Moreover, Hamas has proven itself completely untrustworthy. It has violated every single agreement it has ever made with Israel. They will certainly break this one as well. They are buying time and supplies to continue the fight and will no doubt drag out the hostage releases as long as possible in order to survive future Israeli attacks.

In order to get some 50 hostages home, the Israeli government is putting Israel’s security and Israeli lives at risk. It was during a ceasefire in 2014 that IDF soldier Hadar Goldin was murdered and his body stolen by Hamas terrorists. This could easily happen again.

The deal is also a retreat back into the delusions that led to the Oct. 7 massacre itself. The idea that Hamas or any Islamic terrorist group can be deterred or negotiated with should have been discredited for all time. Israel’s leaders should have learned that concessions to such terrorists can mean only one thing: You have lost and they have won.

Diluting the moral clarity that Israel has shown erodes the already rapidly diminishing global support for Israel’s war of survival. The lines, once so clear, between right and wrong, good and evil, have been blurred.

Perhaps most dangerously, the forces pushing hardest for ceasefires and a “two-state solution” see their suicidal vision being revived. As a result, the pressure they will apply for concessions totally unacceptable to Israel will increase.

While every Israeli should rejoice at the saving of even a single Jewish life, this hostage deal risks compromising long-standing principle, resuscitating a terror group in its death throes and putting the fate of the remaining hostages in doubt. Of course, all of the above is easy to write, because thank God, I have been blessed not to have a child, grandchild or loved one who has been ripped from their home by satanic monsters.

May God bring all the hostages home speedily and unharmed, and may the State of Israel pursue the destruction of its existential enemies with undiminished resolution.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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