Hamas Exploits Israel’s Patience

The Israel-Hamas ceasefire entered its fifth day on Wednesday, during which Hamas released 10 Israeli and two Thai hostages. The New York Times estimates that 85 of the approximately 240 hostages carried from Israel into Gaza have now been returned to their homes. Israel agreed to extend the ceasefire by one day for every 10 hostages Hamas releases.

While the release of Israeli hostages is an answer to many prayers, the disparity between what amounts to a prisoner-civilian exchange between Israel and Hamas is glaring. While Hamas continues to hold the majority of the civilian men, women, and children it captured in early October, it demands that Israel release convicted Palestinian prisoners. Israel has released a much more generous total of 180 prisoners compared to the 85 hostages, including 60 Israelis, Hamas has released. 

Even in negotiations, Hamas fails to act in good faith. The ceasefire agreement includes Israel’s allowance of humanitarian aid and fuel into Gaza and a 3-for-1 ratio of Palestinians (180) to Israelis (60) released. Yet Hamas still violated the agreement on Tuesday when its operatives fired on IDF forces and detonated three explosive devices near them.

Hamas’s evil is hard to ignore, yet many who hate Israel still support the terrorists. Israel has been more than gracious during the ceasefire, adhering to terms from which Hamas heavily benefits by comparison. The terrorist organization runs the risk of completely destroying the ceasefire, which would allow Israel to continue attacking Hamas until it is destroyed. But Hamas’s blind hatred of Israel might make that risk palatable enough for it to foolishly take.