December 16, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Reminds World How to Quickly End the Gaza War

December 16, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Reminds World How to Quickly End the Gaza War

Latest Developments

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, on December 12 called on members of the United Nations General Assembly to tell Hamas leadership in Gaza to “put down their arms, turn themselves in, and return our hostages.” Erdan added that if Hamas took these steps, it would result in a ceasefire that would “last forever.” In his speech, Erdan held up a sign with what he claimed to be the phone number of the Hamas office in Gaza. While Israel does not expect Hamas to surrender, Erdan’s remarks underscore the one-sided nature of demands that Israel accept a ceasefire, even though Hamas initiated the war by committing a mass atrocity and its leaders have pledged to continue their aggression until Israel is destroyed.

Expert Analysis

“The IDF has said that dismantling Hamas could take months and — given Hamas’s extensive use of human shields — is sadly likely to involve more civilian casualties in Gaza. But Hamas has agency, too. Hamas started this war and could end the suffering of the people in Gaza tomorrow by surrendering and giving back the hostages. Those who wish for a speedy end to this conflict should demand an immediate unconditional surrender and a return of the hostages.” Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

“A premature ceasefire is simply kicking the can down the road. The terrorist group will inevitably launch further wars, cause even more deaths, and carry out unspeakable atrocities. Israelis and Palestinians will not be safe if Hamas remains.”  — David May, FDD Research Manager and Senior Research Analyst

IDF Says War is With Hamas, Not the People of Gaza

The IDF has repeatedly stated that Israel’s war is against Hamas, not the people of Gaza. On October 18, in the second week of the war, IDF International Spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said the best way to prevent additional loss of life in Gaza would be for Hamas to unconditionally surrender and return the hostages. This sentiment was echoed by National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby on December 13 when he said that Hamas could take three simple steps that would end the war today: “Lay down your arms, turn over those who were responsible for the October 7th attacks, and give up all the hostages.”

Hamas has Murdered at Least 20 Hostages

On October 7, Hamas abducted approximately 240 hostages. According to the Government of Israel, Hamas has murdered at least 20 of the hostages and continues to hold 132 more, including women, children, and the elderly. The terror group released 81 Israeli hostages between November 24 and November 30 as part of an Egyptian- and Qatari-mediated deal that paused fighting in the Gaza Strip. Hamas also released 23 Thai nationals, one Filipino, and three Israeli-Russian dual citizens under separate arrangements with Bangkok, Manila, and Moscow, respectively.

Additional Reading

Palestinian Leaders Make Offers in English, Threats in Arabic,” FDD Flash Brief

116 Rockets Fired at Israel From Humanitarian Zone in Gaza,” FDD Flash Brief

Russia Demands Hamas Release Hostages,” FDD Flash Brief


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