A ‘pause’ will not get the job done

by Joseph Frager

Hamas will only release its hostages when its back is against the wall.

(JNS) Iran should remain the focus of the response to the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre. All roads lead back to Iran, the chief state sponsor of terrorism in the world today. Although there are many differences between the kidnapping of over 230 men, women and children by Hamas and the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979, it is nonetheless clear that Iran has made long made abduction a centerpiece of its evil operations.

On Nov. 4, 1979, 52 American diplomats and citizens were taken hostage in Iran. After 444 days they were freed. It was no coincidence that they were released on the day that President Ronald Reagan was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 1981. The hostage crisis was one of the reasons Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter in the 1980 presidential election. His mantra was “peace through strength” and the Iranians feared what he might do to them.

The current hostage crisis is more complex, but the approach has to be the same. Despite a month of heavy negotiations, Hamas has released only four hostages. For the IDF to “pause” after one week of a ground operation—as President Joe Biden has requested—will not get more hostages released. It will only give Hamas more time to regroup. When Hamas’s back is against the wall, it will release the hostages, just as Iran did when Reagan became president.

In 2014, when Israel last sent ground troops into Gaza, then-President Barack Obama only allowed Israel to undertake a limited operation. This was not sufficient to get the job done. In the immediate aftermath of the Oct. 7 massacre, Biden seemed to be on the same page as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But his request for a “pause” raises the question of whether he is having second thoughts. If he is, Israel should nevertheless refuse his request. It needs more time if Hamas is to be decisively defeated.

It is my hope that Biden will reconsider his call for a “pause” and give Israel enough time to ensure that the horror the world witnessed on Oct. 7 will never happen again. A “pause” will not achieve that objective.

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