The Israeli government delivered a resolute message on Saturday, affirming its unwavering stance against negotiating with the Palestinian terrorist organization, Hamas, for the release of approximately 100 to 200 Israeli and international hostages. The reasoning behind this uncompromising position, according to Tzachi Hanegbi, the head of Israel’s National Security Council, is grounded in the intent to dismantle Hamas rather than salvage it.
Hanegbi emphasized that the era of negotiating for hostages has come to an end. While Israel remains committed to rescuing the hostages, it categorically rules out hostage-prisoner exchanges or halting its ongoing military operation in Gaza.
Speaking from the Israel Defense Force’s Tel Aviv headquarters, Hanegbi declared, “Israel will not engage in negotiations with an enemy we have vowed to eradicate from existence.”
The estimated number of hostages held by Gaza terror groups stands at 150 to 200.
Hanegbi’s statements have elicited strong reactions from the families of the Israeli hostages, who have already taken to the streets in protest, urging the government to explore all available avenues, including negotiation, to secure the release of their loved ones.
Nonetheless, it is essential to remember the inherent risks involved in negotiations with Hamas, particularly when considering the case of Ali Qadi, the mastermind behind the recent attack on Israel. Israeli forces eliminated Qadi on Saturday, and it serves as a stark reminder of the potential consequences of engaging in prisoner exchanges with this terrorist organization. In 2011, Qadi had been released in such an exchange, underscoring the complexities and challenges of dealing with Hamas.