Hamas Hostage Crisis: Motives and Potential Solutions

2023-10-31 09:19:28

Why did Hamas take hostages?

Historically, many terrorist groups have taken hostages to gain leverage in negotiations or to obtain ransoms and the release of imprisoned comrades.

Here, Hamas advances the liberation of imprisoned Palestinians as its objective. And his threat to kill hostages in retaliation for unannounced attacks on Gaza is another example of attempting to pressure Israeli leaders. And to push them to the limit, in an attempt to provocation, to incite them to slip into a spiral of violence, canceling all efforts at regional rapprochement between Israel and the Arab countries.

And then, unlike other terrorist groups, Hamas has territory to defend. The hostages act or would then act as a human shield.

Finally, it is a demonstration of the strength of Hamas, which can force a superior adversary to negotiate, to accept its conditions, and a way of shining the spotlight on the Palestinian cause.

Not always to generate sympathy, because the taking of hostages, especially civilians, elderly or children, attracts as much attention as convictions.

Exchange as the only solution?

Faced with a hostage situation, governments are faced with a dilemma. Israel can neither under- nor over-react. The repression, imprisonment, destruction, censorship already used did not work. The decapitation of Hamas, capturing its leaders, which is not an easy thing, risks opening the way to leaders more radical than the previous ones.

The other option is of course negotiation. A path which has already borne fruit in the past, and led to the release of Israeli hostages, particularly soldiers. But negotiating in the heat of war is more complicated than in times of calm or peace.

Immediate exchange is what families are asking for. The idea was discussed in the Israeli government.

Hamas’ military wing said Saturday it was ready to release the hostages in exchange for the release of all Palestinians imprisoned in Israel.

“The price to pay for the large number of enemy hostages in our hands is to empty the prisons of all detainees“Palestinians, says a Hamas spokesperson.”Immediately“.

A mathematically unbalanced exchange, since it would be 238 hostages once morest thousands of prisoners.

One Israeli once morest 1000 Palestinians

The equation is not new: following secret negotiations in 2011, Israel was able to recover a kidnapped soldier, Gilad Shalit, in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners.

Last July, the UN estimated the number of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons at 5,000, including 160 children and 1,100 people in administrative detention, held without charge for an indefinite period. But since October 7, the Israeli army has increased raids and mass arrests in the occupied West Bank, as well as in East Jerusalem.

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Thus there have been a thousand Palestinians taken prisoner in the West Bank since the start of the war, 1020 exactly as of October 28.

According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, an association that defends their rights, some 5,200 Palestinians are incarcerated by Israel, 559 of whom are serving life sentences.

And according to Qaddoura Farès, head of the Commission for Palestinian Prisoner Affairs, which depends on the Palestinian Authority, the number of detainees has climbed to more than 10,000… In conditions described as very harsh.

What currency?

But today the exchange is undoubtedly less easy: the Israeli government announcing that it wants to erase Hamas from the map and return its detainees seems complicated. Irreconcilable objectives. Israeli strategy seems caught in the “fog of war” as the title Courrier international.

According to Hagai Hadas, former Israeli military official and Mossad officer involved in the negotiation to free Gilad Shalit and who speaks to the BBCthe file is “policy“. He recalls the situation, more comfortable from a political point of view, of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the time, and especially that the agreement had been finalized two years before the actual release of soldier Shalit.

We actually see Hamas using the release of the hostages to put pressure on the Israeli government, with the video that the movement published this Monday of three hostages asking Benjamin Netanyahu to accept the exchange. “Cruel propagandacan only comment on the Prime Minister.

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