November 8, 2023 | Flash Brief

Netanyahu Says No Gaza Cease-Fire Without Hostage Release 

November 8, 2023 | Flash Brief

Netanyahu Says No Gaza Cease-Fire Without Hostage Release 

Latest Developments 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on November 6 that he opposed a cease-fire in Gaza “without the release of our hostages.” Speaking to ABC News, Netanyahu said a cease-fire would “hamper our effort to get our hostages out” because Hamas only responds to “military pressure.” The United States is currently working with Qatar and Turkey, both state sponsors of Hamas, to free an estimated 240 hostages held captive in Gaza. The roles of these two governments raise questions regarding Washington’s willingness to push Ankara and Doha to close Hamas offices, expel Hamas officials, and cut off financial support to the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip. 

Expert Analysis 

“The United States and the West more broadly continue to apply pressure to the wrong party in this conflict. If Hamas can be convinced to surrender, the war will end. If Hamas can be convinced to release the hostages taken on October 7, the war will pause. Pressing Hamas’s terror-sponsoring patrons, such as Qatar, Turkey and even Iran, is now what is needed to gain leverage over the terrorist group. Pressing the Israelis to stop or pause makes little sense. It will only result in strengthening Hamas at a moment where it is approaching collapse.” — Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research 

“Hamas and Qatar are playing a game, trying to dangle the mere possibility of a partial hostage release for the survival of Hamas. While some in Washington may be falling for the ruse, Israel clearly isn’t.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor 

Hamas’s Demands 

Hamas has demanded that Israel release thousands of Palestinians jailed in Israel in exchange for the hostages. Ghazi Hamad, a senior official in Hamas’s political bureau, reiterated the group’s call for a prisoner exchange on November 2. He said that Hamas will not release hostages until Israel frees “all the prisoners from the Israeli detention centers.” The jailed Palestinians include detainees convicted in Israeli courts of committing a range of crimes, including terrorism. 

Approximately 240 Hostages Remain in Gaza 

On October 27, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) notified the families of 229 hostages held captive by Hamas. Since then, the hostage count has swelled to approximately 240. More than half of the hostages hold foreign citizenship, including 12 Americans and at least two dozen Thais. Hamas also abducted citizens of Argentina, Germany, France, and Russia, among others. The terrorist group released two of the Americans on October 20 and two elderly Israeli women on October 23. Additionally, the IDF rescued a female soldier during a ground operation on October 29. 

The Shadow Unit: Meet the Hamas Division Likely Holding Israeli and American Hostages,” by Joe Truzman 

Hamas Demands Release of Terrorists in Exchange for Israeli Hostages,” FDD Flash Brief 

U.S. Wrong to Involve Qatar and Turkey in Israeli Hostage Negotiations,” FDD Flash Brief  


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