The government of Israel has agreed to a stupid, shameful deal with Hamas. If the government continues along this path – and it seems almost certain to do so – it will mark the turning point of the war in Gaza. In retrospect, it will be seen as the point at which it became clear that Hamas will retain control of the Gaza strip.

The details of the deal, as I understand them this morning, are that Hamas will return some 50 of the 240 hostages they are holding, women and children. The Red Cross will be allowed to visit the remaining hostages. In return, Hamas will receive a cease-fire of four days, during which Israel agrees not to fly (I presume both drones and manned aircraft are included) over the northern part of Gaza for six hours each day. There will be no flights at all over the southern part. Israel has agreed to extend the cease-fire for an additional day for every ten hostages released. In addition, Israel will release some 150 to 300 Palestinian women and teenagers imprisoned in Israel for offenses less serious than murder. Israel will allow fuel and an increased amount of humanitarian goods to be brought into Gaza.

Not so bad, right? Wrong – it’s a disaster.

The IDF has been rolling up Hamas in Gaza. Another week or two of fighting would be decisive. It would liquidate Hamas’ military capability and civil control. All that would remain would be to mop up. What would happen next is a difficult question, but it will not be relevant if Hamas remains in control or retains significant military capability.

A cease-fire will allow Hamas to resupply its soldiers, to rebuild damaged communications systems, to reestablish the chain of command where key commanders (who were specifically targeted by the IDF) have been killed. It will allow them to reinforce their weak points and those places where they expect the IDF to attack. It will allow them to repair damaged systems for launching rockets. The no-fly restriction will allow them to move remaining hostages to more secure locations and extricate key personnel from areas where they are in danger without being tracked. At least some if not all of the fuel, food, and medicine that will be entering the Strip will be hijacked for Hamas’ purposes. Fuel in particular is needed to operate generators that supply power for ventilation of the tunnels where Hamas operatives live and from which they fight.

In short, a few days of cease-fire translate directly into a much longer extension of the war. From the start of the ground invasion on 27 October and until 20 November, 66 IDF soldiers have been killed in combat in Gaza (this of course is in addition to the 1200 civilians and soldiers killed on 7 October, and the unknown number of hostages who are no longer alive). For every day that the war is extended, IDF soldiers will be lost. And some of the toughest fighting is ahead.

It must be assumed that the international pressure to stop the war before Israel obtains her objectives will not go away; rather, it will probably increase as a result of the cease-fire. The obscene accusations of “genocide” will only become louder. There is concern that the cease-fire will expand, ultimately to become indefinitely long. The pressure on the Biden administration to force Israel to stop fighting will only grow.

The provision to release hostages in groups will present insupportable choices for the government: how will it be able to tell the families that have children or parents still in captivity that their family members will not be redeemed, when others have? Indeed, as long as Hamas has even one captive, its leverage will remain. The well-organized families of the hostages have underlined their – totally understandable, but also tragically wrong – contention that the primary goal of the war should be to return the hostages rather than to defeat Hamas, by blocking the main highway near Tel Aviv on Saturday night.

Indeed, this aspect of the deal is the most dangerous part of it. The first group of hostages will be traded for women and teen-aged terrorists without blood on their hands; but surely there will be more expansive demands made for the next group. The more hostages are freed, the harder it will become for the government to hold out against the pressure to give in to the increasingly severe demands of their captors. And Hamas has already announced that its objective is to obtain the release of all Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, including (especially) the worst of mass murderers.

Ariel Kahane, writing in Israel Hayom today, compared the choices facing the government to those facing the Judenraten in the Nazi-controlled ghettos, who were asked to provide lists of Jews to be deported to death camps, or see the entire ghetto liquidated.

If Hamas is not decisively defeated, it will encourage Hezbollah to increase the pressure in the north, as well as possibly to undertake a hostage-taking operation of its own. It will put the wind in the sails of Hamas and other terrorist factions in Judea and Samaria. It will send a message to Iran, and also to Israel’s hoped-for allies in the Arab world that Israel is weak, unable to stand up to extortion, and unable to defeat a force which is more akin to a terrorist militia than a real army. It will be a massive blow to our honor and therefore our deterrence.

In summary: this deal promises an extension of the war, which will cost Israel in the lives of the best of her young men. It will result in the release of numerous terrorists, most likely ultimately including the worst mass murderers, those who should not even be alive, rather than free to kill again. It will enable the “international community” to put the brakes on the IDF, both in the way it fights and in the time it is allowed to do so. It will, in my estimation, allow Hamas to remain in control of at least part of the Gaza Strip, and perhaps to retain some hostages for further leverage. It will encourage Israel’s enemies and damage her attempts to make allies in the Middle East.

Psychologically, it reinforces the false equivalence between kidnapped hostages and convicted terrorists. It legitimizes terrorism and hostage-taking – consider the absurdity that Israel has agreed to blind her eyes in the sky, because otherwise they might find the hostages and be able to rescue them!

The deal is a disaster, a surrender to the monsters of Hamas that murdered, tortured, and raped our people and who have said that they will do it again if given the chance. It is open-ended in a way that can only lead to even worse acts of appeasement.

Our young soldiers overwhelmed their commanders in their desire to fight; some reserve units didn’t have enough weapons for all of those who volunteered. They are fighting ferociously and heroically. As of yesterday, sixty-six of them will not go home to their families, and many others have been so severely wounded that they will never live normal lives. They were winning, and the decision taken by the government is nothing less than a betrayal.

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5 Responses to Betrayal

  1. The Man In The High Castle says:


    I was more than stunned to learn about the proposed deal, for it seems to represent the well-known adage of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

    Thanks for arguing your points so clearly and passionately, especially in terms of the -“a” — “any” – deal’s ramifications for the future.

    Another aspect of this is the long-term consequence of any non-defeat of Hamas, upon Jews living in the diaspora, whether Europe, Australia, of the USA.

    I’m utterly perplexed about the main impetus of the deal, or even the perceived need for any such deal, per se. Does this arise primarily from external – American and European – diplomatic pressure? Or, as increasingly seems so to my astonishment (if not disillusionment) do the actual motivations arise more from political, cultural, bureaucratic, and media issues internal to Israel itself?

    I think the latter would have implications far more dire than the former…

    • I really don’t know what the major influence on the decision-makers was. Only they truly know. Certainly there was pressure from the US. I’m guessing, though, that input from the organization representing the families of the hostages was the deciding factor (although some of the families wanted to hold out for releasing all the hostages at the same time).

  2. jack6543 says:

    I agree completely. This is not a deal that should be celebrated, but a day of mourning for very bad judgement that could lead to the end of Israel. If Israel shows no ability to kill and disburse its enemies it will eventually be defeated. This is an opportunity for Israel to show its courage against the Palestinians and their supporters, enemies that have vowed to destroy Israel, or to show its cowardice and inability to fight and destroy its enemies. It must choose. If not now then when?

    • Lrbenj says:

      I agree with this comment. This deal to me is the definition of insanity. Here in the USA I read that a majority of Israelis want this to get the hostages back. I don’t know if this is true. But releasing terrorists from prison will just lay the groundwork for more deaths and destruction. Give them one day to release all the hostage’s, no release of prisoners in exchange, and if they don’t then I say finish off Hamas, whatever it takes. This is a do or die mission. Hamas is playing Israel because they know just how to do it. For once Israel should surprise them and act out of character and finish the job. Hostages come from over 30 countries, where is the outrage from these countries? Why have they not banded together at the UN ( useless nations) to demand the release of their citizens? Why is it Israel that has to pay the price.

  3. NormanF says:

    What to do?

    The fact 11 Israelis are coming home doesn’t change my view about the deal from hell.

    Its still a betrayal. Hamas found Israel’s weak spot.

    They got what they wanted. The blackest day in Jewish history – November 21, 2023 will not end well.

    Israel threw away its war goals for a pointless surrender that will exact an ever increasing price from the country.

    No good will out of it.

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