Hamas’s cruel game

by Joseph Frager

The hostage crisis has backfired on the terror group.

(JNS) On Oct. 7, Hamas perpetrated one of the most horrendous acts of evil that civilization has seen since the Holocaust. It is now trying to make a show of its supposed humanity—which does not exist—by releasing kidnapped women and children.

This decision is purely for public consumption and to please the media. In reality, Hamas is playing a cruel game in an attempt to win the psychological war as well as the battle on the ground.

In fact, the release only took place because the IDF is enjoying significant success on the battlefield, forcing Hamas to release more than two hostages at a time, as they were doing before Israel began its ground operations. Clearly, then, Israel must expand this operation to southern Gaza in order to force Hamas to free the remaining hostages.

Even though Hamas grossly underestimated Israel’s response to the terror group’s horrific massacre, it knew full well the desperation and anguish they would cause by taking hostages. They sought to inflict maximum pain on Israeli society. They also hoped that the hostages would serve as bargaining chips they could use to ensure their survival.

But Hamas is wrong. The release of 50 hostages will not stop Israel’s military advance. The fact that some 200 hostages remain in Hamas hands only gives Israel more incentive than ever to continue its operations.

It also keeps U.S. President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the fight. If Hamas released all the hostages, it is highly unlikely that Biden would agree to Israeli operations in southern Gaza. As a result, the hostage crisis has taken on a whole new dimension. In the end, the crisis will determine how long the Biden administration will back Israel’s military operations.

Of course, Biden will try to delay Israeli operations in southern Gaza by claiming that he is using diplomacy to get the remaining hostages out. This is the same reasoning that prevented Israel from launching a ground invasion for three weeks. Israel could have caught Hamas on the run had it started ground operations sooner.

Israel cannot make this mistake a second time. The best hope for the hostages is for Israel to completely defeat and destroy Hamas. Biden has to let the IDF do its job, because when Israel wins, America wins. Thankfully, there are already signs that Hamas’s cruel game is backfiring.

Israel must continue its ground invasion. It is working. If anything will secure the release of all the hostages, it is victory. I look forward to that day.

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