OpinionIsrael at War

No more ceasefires

Hamas must release all hostages and surrender.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about the release of Israeli, U.S. and other hostages in exchange for accused Hamas terrorists from Nantucket, Mass., on on Nov. 26, 2023. Source: YouTube/White House.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about the release of Israeli, U.S. and other hostages in exchange for accused Hamas terrorists from Nantucket, Mass., on on Nov. 26, 2023. Source: YouTube/White House.
Farley Weiss and Leonard Grunstein
Farley Weiss and Leonard Grunstein are authors of the new book Because It’s Just and Right: The Untold Back-Story of the U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

At the moment, 26 out of the 27 E.U. member states support an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas without requiring Hamas to unconditionally release all its hostages and surrender. At the same time, Hamas is demanding that Israel release 5,000 terrorists in exchange for the remaining hostages and exit Gaza, which would leave Hamas with a significant terrorist force intact.

The sheer arrogance of such demands appears irrational, given the crushing military defeat Hamas is suffering and its likely destruction once Israel fully enters Rafah. But Hamas and its allies’ propaganda war has given the terrorists hope, as they see support for Israel’s war waning somewhat, even in the United States.   

The previous “humanitarian pause” in the fighting, which began on Nov. 24, 2023, is instructive. The pause was brief because, after receiving wildly disproportionate releases of terrorist prisoners, Hamas simply broke the truce and resumed its attacks. It also reneged on its agreement to provide the Red Cross access to the remaining hostages and to deliver medication to them. Israel now reports that numerous hostages have died in captivity and many of those released show signs of starvation, torture and sexual abuse.  

Immediately following Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre, U.S. President Joe Biden spoke of Hamas as sheer and unadulterated evil. He said the U.S. fully supports Israel’s war to eradicate Hamas. He committed to providing humanitarian aid to Gaza, but said, “Let me be clear, if Hamas diverts or steals the assistance, they will have demonstrated once again that they have no concern for the welfare of the Palestinian people and it will end.” 

Biden did not follow through on this pledge. Reports indicate that the majority of humanitarian aid to Gaza has been stolen by Hamas. Instead of halting the aid, the Biden administration has been admonishing Israel to provide even more.

Hamas’s strategy is no secret: It is trying to maximize civilian casualties in a stunningly evil attempt effort to bring international pressure on Israel in order to force a ceasefire and save itself. As patently obvious as this is, Hamas and its cohorts have marshalled pro-terrorist allies at the U.N., as well as in Europe and the U.S. who are pushing it with everything they have.

Many world leaders, including some who backed Israel initially, now support an immediate unconditional ceasefire. As Hamas leaders have demonstrated in word and deed, such capitulation will only result in more stolen aid, more terrorism, more war and more death.

With Israel poised to conquer Hamas’s last stronghold in Rafah, now is the time for the international community to put an end to its culture of surrender. Instead, it should redouble its support for Israel. Moreover, this would not only be support for Israel. Veteran U.S. diplomat Dennis Ross and Executive Vice President Emeritus of the Conference of Presidents Malcolm Hoenlein have said that Arab leaders tell them not to listen to what they say publicly. They too support destroying Hamas.  

Biden is also mistaken in his attempt to curry favor with antisemitic Hamas supporters in Michigan by criticizing Israel. Polls show that the overwhelming majority of both Michigan voters and Americans in general support Israel in this war.

But the White House’s mixed messages do not go unnoticed. Hamas, its allies and its Western fifth column are watching. This is the only explanation for its delusional demand that Israel release thousands of murderers—many with American blood on their hands—and unconditionally end the war. If Hamas really cared about Gaza’s civilians, it could end their suffering today by immediate and unconditional surrender.

The Biden administration’s hints that it may recognize a Palestinian state are equally disastrous. It would violate the Oslo Accords and long-standing U.S. policy, which hold that this is an issue for negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians. Recognition will only reward Hamas for its crimes; not to mention the U.S.-supported Palestinian Authority’s crimes. It is a time to hold both of them accountable. Thankfully, the Israeli government has resoundingly rejected recognition. The war cabinet’s rejection was unanimous, crossing partisan and ideological lines. It is encouraging that U.S. Ambassador to Israel Jack Lew has reassured Israel that the U.S. has no plans to unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state.

The U.S. should send a powerful message to Hamas and the P.A. that terrorism will no longer be tolerated. The U.S. veto of an Algeria-proposed U.N. resolution calling for a ceasefire was a good start, but more is needed. All aid that goes directly or indirectly to Hamas, including UNRWA funding, must be ended until all the hostages are released and Hamas surrenders. The Biden administration should also denounce P.A. chief Mahmoud Abbas’s plan to reward Oct. 7 terrorists with “pay-to-slay” pensions and suspend all direct or indirect funding to the P.A. until “pay-to-slay” is ended.

Most importantly, the U.S. must unequivocally support Israel’s plan to enter Rafah in force, thus destroying Hamas and ending the war. No more ceasefires.

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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