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The Hostage Deal - Difficult, Dangerous, Inevitable

Israel set out to war with two goals: 1. To eliminate the Hamas regime and any terror threat from Gaza. 2. Bring back all hostages.  With the imminent hostage deal, the tension between these two goals is evident.

 

In the next few days, dozens of women, children, and elders will return home. But the feelings in Israel regarding this are mixed. In 2011 a staggering number of 1,027 terrorists, including current Hamas leader Sinwar, were released from Israeli prison to bring back one single Israeli soldier - Gilad Shalit. Today there is almost a consensus in Israel, that this deal has brought us to the current conundrum.


The Hostage deal will very likely cost us soldiers' lives. The cease-fire and the introduction of fuel and food into the Strip will allow Hamas to prepare for the next round of war more effectively.

 

Even though Israel is taking on certain risks in this deal, it is the right thing to do. Israel's primary moral commitment is to ensure the return of the children and mothers it failed to protect. The hostage deal is a clear achievement of the fighting. Israeli soldiers who died in Gaza did not die in vain. Their sacrifice will allow children to return to their homes and restart their course of life. There is no guarantee there will be another opportunity to save these children's lives.


It is nevertheless necessary to prepare mentally and diplomatically for this deal and its outcomes. Israel is expected to face a political attack once it holds fire, aimed at bringing about a permanent ceasefire. Israel will not be affected by this. The Israeli new national unity government's raison d'être is to defeat Hamas, and the government has no mandate to stop until it achieves its goal.


In terms of Hamas goals for this war, he currently receives very little. Hamas' original goals  was to make a huge deal that included the release of all Palestinian prisoners in Israel, the continuation of its rule, and the lifting of the 'siege' on Gaza.  Even the so-called “strategic achievement” of Hamas of the deal (the 4-10 days ceasefire) will likely be futile. There is little chance that in four or even ten days of ceasefire Hamas could regroup and rearm itself to confront The significantly stronger IDF’s.


Therefore, the big questions concern what will happen during the pause in the clashes outside of Gaza. How will Hezbollah conduct itself? Is Israel the one that will actually take advantage to gain achievements? Will Israel take advantage to respond to the attacks of the Houthis in Yemen?


Finally, it's ain't over until it's over. Hamas' primary goal is to exhaust and break Israeli society's spirit. When the deal is being executed, Israel needs to anticipate scenarios with a high probability of delay, confusion, evasion, non-compliance with deadlines, and deception. For us, it means more moments of uncertainty and sadly even disappointment and anguish.

 

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