Monday, November 27, 2023

Israel's Faustian Bargain With Hamas Will be Costly

Anyone with a caring soul cannot help but be moved by the pictures and videos of the hostages who have been released by Hamas and reunited with their loved ones. We share their deep-felt joy and relief. However, Israel is paying a terrible, painful price to free the hostages, a price that puts the free world at risk. For each hostage released by Hamas, Israel is releasing three prisoners, including terrorists who have participated in violent attacks. 

We have seen this movie many times before, and it never ends well. In 2011, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released over 1000 terrorists in exchange for kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and after the Shalit deal I predicted in general terms the October 7, 2023 Hamas mass casualty terrorist attack when I wrote the following:

Prime Minister Netanyahu has bodyguards and elite security services to protect him. Who will protect the innocent Jewish children who are going to be slaughtered by the terrorists Netanyahu is releasing? Just as importantly, who will hold Netanyahu responsible for the blood on his hands when such preventable atrocities predictably and inevitably happen? During Netanyahu's earlier term as Prime Minister in the 1990s he agreed to give away 80% of Hebron even though this exposed the city's Jewish residents to sniper attacks from Arab terrorists--and on March 26, 2001 an Arab sniper killed 10 month old Shalhevet Pass by shooting her in the head as she sat in her baby stroller. Netanyahu has yet to be held accountable for recklessly ceding control over most of Hebron and he has no right to set free terrorists who have blood on their hands and who will eagerly seek opportunities to spill even more innocent blood.

Netanyahu, who once declared that one should never negotiate with terrorists, had betrayed his principles and jeopardized the security of his nation, and he is making the same mistake now. Caroline Glick, usually a staunch Netanyahu advocate, correctly termed the Shalit deal "A Pact Signed in Jewish Blood." Current Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, who planned the October 7 attack, was released as part of the Shalit deal, and he learned from that experience that the best way for Hamas to obtain the release of jailed terrorists is to take Israelis hostage. 

It is pathetic that news organizations fail to distinguish between lawfully imprisoned terrorists who have committed crimes versus innocent people taken hostage by a terrorist group. Hamas committed a war crime by taking hostages, and Israel is rewarding this war crime by freeing terrorists who will commit future war crimes.

The charitable way to look at this fiasco is to say that proponents of such exchanges honestly believe that this is at heart a political conflict, and that good will gestures can be a stepping stone leading to a political resolution of the issues between the parties--but it is difficult to believe that anyone can be that stupid. Hamas' charter explicitly outlines the religious nature of this war from their perspective: all Jews are targets for Hamas, and Hamas views Israel as an illegitimate state that must be destroyed by any means necessary. Hamas has openly stated that they plan to repeat October 7 again and again and again until Israel is defeated. Make no mistake that if Hamas succeeds in destroying Israel--perish the thought--then Hamas and their Iranian sponsors will turn their focus toward turning the whole world into Dar al-Islam, which is territory governed in strict accordance with Islamic law, and that entails--among other things--no freedom of speech, no freedom of religion, no freedom of the press, no independent judiciary, and very limited rights for women and any other minority group not favored under Islamic law.

The barbarism at the heart of radical Islam cannot be bartered with, reasoned with, or cured; it will either be defeated, or it will defeat Western civilization. 

I am happy for the freed hostages and their families, but I dread the steep price that we will all pay: more torture, more rapes, more murders--and more hostage-taking. I hope that Israel will someday find the strength to fight until complete victory is achieved, an outcome that would transform the Mideast in a very positive way by demonstrating that Iran, Hamas, and radical Islam are on the losing side of history.


  1. I was just watching footage of hostages being reunited with their families and I would be lying if I said I didn’t shed any tears. Unfortunately, this is a textbook Pyrrhic victory for the west for all of the reasons you mentioned. Hamas has just demonstrated that they have the most leverage in this war and that they will eagerly use western morality as a weapon against the west.

  2. Michael: Yes, and I just saw a report that Hamas violated the ceasefire by attacking Israeli forces. Sadly, my assumption is that Israel will ignore the violation and continue the ceasefire. This ceasefire is a tremendous victory for Hamas, and a setback not just for Israel but for Western civilization.


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