We were dismayed by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s statement at the World Economic Forum held in the Saudi capital Riyadh last week that he was “hopeful” that Hamas would accept Israel’s latest truce proposal which he described as “extraordinarily, extraordinarily generous on the part of Israel.”

The Israeli proposal was said to entail in part, a deal to accept the release of 40 of the roughly 130 hostages believed to be still held in exchange for freeing a number of Palestinian security prisoners and a second phase of a truce consisting of a “period of sustained calm” – Israel’s apparent compromise of Hamas’ demand for a permanent ceasefire and an official end to the war.


As has been previously reported, Hamas had been insisting both on an end to the war and the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.

As The Times of Israel reported, Blinken was also joined in the plea by several of his colleagues at the conference – from the UK, France, Jordan and Egypt – as part of a diplomatic push to bring an end to the Gaza War.

Dream on Mr. Secretary, et al.

Surely, they must all understand the reality of the Hamas dynamic, that Hamas (literally) cannot live with anything less than a permanent ceasefire and full Israeli withdrawal for the same reason Israel cannot permit it. Thus, as Prime Minister Netanyahu put it:

Israel cannot accept a situation in which Hamas’ battalions leave their tunnels, reestablish control over the Gaza Strip, rebuild their military industries and go back to threatening the citizens of Israel in the communities of the Western Negev, the cities of the south and throughout the country.

Indeed, Hamas has every reason not to have a resolution that doesn’t encompass their maximalist demands. It surely could not be concerned with alleviating the plight of Gazans. Not when they are regularly employed as human shields and ostensibly civilian hospitals are routinely used by Hamas as military installations.

Moreover, as a general matter, Hamas leaders are plainly basking in the glow of the daily spectacle of the leaders of the western world pleading with them to make a deal. They have to be relishing the obvious contrast with the moribund Palestinian Authority and its feckless president Mahmoud Abbas. So, the longer the process drags on, the more they continue as stars of the Arab world.

Nor have they been made to believe that their recalcitrance will result in any loss of opportunity. To the contrary, it has led to a continuing erosion of the Biden administration’s support for Israel and a steady stream of unreciprocated Israeli concessions engineered by it.

Hamas has to be encouraged by the fierce Biden opposition to an Israeli invasion of Rafah, on the grounds that it would result in unacceptable numbers of civilian deaths, and the leaked report this past weekend that there has been a halt to U.S. shipments of munitions to Israel in response to Israel’s announced plans to move forward in Rafah notwithstanding U.S. objections. By any measure this could end up providing a sanctuary for Hamas and a ticket to survival.

Perhaps the time has come for President Biden to join in telling the Sinwars and Haniyehs of the world that we’re on to them and they should surrender, lay down their arms and release the people they kidnapped. Or else!


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