Photo Credit: IDF YouTube screenshot
IDF soldiers fighting in the Gaza Strip, May 22, 2024.

Driven by their own desperation and by the overwrought public opinion, Israel’s leaders decided they were prepared to suspend the final blow against Hamas if it meant the release of the hostages.

When they make the movie about the past seven months, I suggest the role of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu be played by Meryl Streep – because she knows everything about the meaning of Sophie’s choice, and, of course, about trying to remain human under the guns of bestial Nazis.


On Wednesday evening, the families of five young women still held hostage by Hamas in Gaza released a video showing the terrorists’ bodycam footage of the abusive abduction of their daughters (Israel Govt Spokesperson: ‘Please Don’t Look Away. Watch the Film’). This marked the successful culmination of Hamas’s October 7 strategy, to abduct as many Israeli civilians as they could and use them as bargaining chips against a militarily superior foe.

Unlike the vast majority of Israeli leaders who learned nothing from the 17 years of confrontations with Hamas, Yahya Sinwar and his ilk learned a crucial lesson from the Gilad Shalit affair that concluded in Israel’s complete capitulation, 12 years almost to the day before October 7, 2023. Among the 1,027 prisoners that were released by Israel in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange on October 18, 2011, were about 280 homicidal criminals serving life sentences for planning and perpetrating murders of Israeli civilians. They naturally found their way to leadership positions in the criminal organization Hamas, most notable among them – Yahya Sinwar.

The lesson Sinwar et al learned was obvious: Israelis would do anything to rescue their loved ones, including ending the war in Gaza and withdrawing to anticipate another Hamas massacre.

What’s more, Israeli government officials supported the release of the edited tape of the brutal treatment of young innocent women at the hands of Hamas beasts – as if it were a propaganda coup.

“The parents of five young ladies have agreed to show this three-minute film. These girls are still in captivity of Hamas,” Israeli government spokesperson David Mencer told reporters at a briefing on Wednesday, and added, “Please don’t look away. Watch the film. Do not look away,” Mencer urged the reporters. “Support Israel in bringing our people home.”

And so, that same night, the vicious plot that began on October 7, 2023, paid great dividends for Hamas on May 22, 2024.

The IDF is increasing the forces operating in Rafah and accelerating combat activity in the area. On Tuesday morning, cadets of the IDF officer school joined the fighting. Their battalion will operate as part of the Givati Brigade and participate in the cleansing of the areas captured along the Philadelphi axis as well as in the expropriation of additional areas as the IDF continues to advance the fighting. The Negev Brigade is also recruiting more reserve battalions to join the fighting, as the IDF hopes to complete the fighting in Rafah within a few weeks. The IDF can make rapid progress in the fighting due, among other things, to the fact that about a million Gazans who were in the Rafah area have moved north. The IDF has arrived in the Brazilian neighborhood of Rafah and is clearing it, and already holds significant parts of the Philadelphi axis while operating there above and below ground. The IDF estimates that the military pressure in Rafah will increase the pressure on Yahya Sinwar and the Hamas leadership regarding the negotiations for the release of the hostages. To that end, IDF fighters uncovered an underground route and significant tunnels used by Hamas.

But then, only a few hours after the release of the video from which no one should have looked away, Netanyahu’s War Cabinet, comprised mainly of Netanyahu’s political enemies, convened overnight Thursday to discuss the renewal of hostage release negotiations with Hamas. The cabinet reportedly decided on more flexibility in responding to Hamas’s insane demands (which would necessarily result in an Israeli defeat in Gaza). The Israeli negotiating team was instructed to pass on those notions of new flexibility to the Egyptian mediators.

Speaking of Egyptian mediators, one of them, a senior Egyptian intelligence officer named Ahmed Abdel Khalak, the deputy of the head of Egypt’s Intelligence Abbas Kamal, messed with the Israeli proposal that he delivered to Hamas, adding to it concessions to which Israel had never agreed – and Hamas still rejected it.

A source familiar with the details of the discussion said: “This is not all that the negotiating team asked for, but at least we can move forward.”

Just, this time, ask someone other than Khalak to do the delivery.

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