Benjamin Netanyahu has come to understand Hamas’s true intentions, while the United States, represented by Antony Blinken and Joe Biden, seems to still grapple with it. During Blinken’s meeting with the unity government in Jerusalem, he pressed Israel to pause its military operations to allow humanitarian aid into northern Gaza. However, Netanyahu publicly rebuked this suggestion.
Netanyahu made it clear that if the US wants a pause in operations, Hamas should first release all the hostages without any conditions. In a televised statement before the start of Shabbat, Netanyahu expressed his refusal to accept a temporary halt to the fight against Hamas without the release of hostages. He also mentioned that Israel would not allow the entry of fuel into Gaza.
Netanyahu emphasized the importance of achieving a sharp and clear victory that would resonate for generations. He asserted that Israel’s enemies aim to destroy the country but will ultimately fail. Their objective is to defeat Hamas, secure the return of the hostages, and restore security for Israeli citizens and children.
Netanyahu didn’t wait for Antony Blinken to leave before making this public statement, displaying his determination to stand his ground. In diplomatic terms, this equates to a strong message.
Hamas is unlikely to accept this offer, especially after they demanded that Israel withdraw from Gaza before discussing the hostages. Nevertheless, Netanyahu’s formula is on the right track. If Hamas and Gazans genuinely want humanitarian aid, they should demonstrate good faith by releasing the civilians and soldiers taken hostage during Hamas’s attack on October 7.
The United States should also demand the same from Hamas, considering that they killed over 30 Americans on October 7 and took an unspecified number of Americans as hostages. Prioritizing the release of hostages before providing humanitarian aid is a reasonable and principled stance.
Meanwhile, Blinken seems to be stuck in the past, advocating for a “two-state solution” as the answer to the ongoing conflict. However, the question remains: who would be a suitable partner for this solution? It certainly cannot be Hamas, and the current culture in Gaza does not align with this vision.
Gazans had an opportunity in 2005 when the occupation ended, and they could have formed a responsible state. Instead, they elected Hamas, an organization committed to the annihilation of Israel, and pursued their own version of a one-state solution. Their actions over the past 17 years have shown their preference for aggression, even celebrating the horrific events of October 7.
Blinken’s insistence on a two-state solution seems outdated and disconnected from the current reality on the ground. His recent visit to the region included viewing disturbing videos captured by the Israelis, which left him visibly shaken. The videos depicted horrifying scenes, such as a father desperately trying to protect his young children from a terrorist attack.
Blinken expressed his sympathy for Palestinian civilians, stating that he sees his own children in the images of young boys and girls pulled from the wreckage of buildings. He also highlighted Hamas’s disregard for the welfare and well-being of the Palestinian people, noting that they cynically and monstrously use them as human shields by placing their commanders and weapons within or beneath residential buildings, schools, mosques, and hospitals.
Despite these observations, the Biden administration continues to advocate for pauses and negotiations with Hamas, even though they are known for their brutal tactics, including taking hostages. The inconsistency in the US’s approach raises questions about the moral clarity and effectiveness of their strategy, especially when American citizens are at risk. It appears that the Biden administration is playing into Hamas’s strategy of hostage-taking rather than taking a resolute and principled stance. The current approach appears incoherent and lacks the moral clarity needed to address the situation effectively.