Hamas has released an unrealistic counterproposal for a deal to return Israeli hostages. In addition to requesting a 4.5-months-long ceasefire and the IDF’s permanent withdrawal from Gaza, the terrorist organization demands the ability to handpick 500 terrorists serving life sentences to be freed.
During the first 45 days, women, children, elderly, and ill hostages would be exchanged for Palestinian security prisoners, while Hamas would receive humanitarian aid and fuel, which supports its operations in underground terror tunnels. The IDF would also have to stop all its military operations. During the second 45 days, male hostages would be exchanged for 1,500 male Palestinian prisoners. The IDF would have to withdraw completely from Gaza and end its siege on the coastal enclave. In the last 45 days, the bodies of dead hostages and Hamas members would be exchanged.
Though 136 hostages remain in Hamas’s control, the IDF has confirmed that at least 32 of them are now dead, though that number could be closer to 52.
Hamas’s deal is wildly disingenuous. It knows Israel has its sights fully on the terrorist group’s complete elimination, yet Hamas is asking for the moon and stars. Not only is it demanding the IDF’s withdrawal; it’s also requiring more than 10 times as many freed Palestinians—prisoners, not hostages—for the safe return of a continually dwindling number of captive Israelis.
Israel has the upper hand in its military strength, yet Hamas continues to believe its hostages are a trump card that will save them. But Israel has made it clear that the war will end when Hamas is destroyed and Gaza no longer poses the same active level of threat to the Jewish state’s existence that it does now.