Israel Rescues Four Hostages—and Still Suffers Consequences

IDF soldiers and commandos rescued four hostages from Gaza on Saturday. The daring rescue took place in a densely populated area, a Hamas tactic designed to force Israel to cause casualties to free the hostages. Hamas’s tactic succeeded in part because it allowed the terrorist group to claim 271 Palestinians were killed and 698 injured, albeit without distinguishing between militants and civilians. Israeli military spokesman Daniel Hagari estimated a much lower total of less than 100 deaths, noting, “This was a mission in the heart of a civilian neighborhood, where Hamas had intentionally hidden among homes where there were civilians, and armed militants guarding the hostages.”

The freed hostages—Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 22, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 41—were beaten almost daily. According to Dr. Itai Pessach, the Sheba Medical Center doctor who oversaw the hostages’ recovery, “The combination of the psychological stress, malnutrition or not getting enough food or not getting the right kind of food, medical neglect, being limited to space, not seeing the sun and all of the other things have [a] significant effect on health.” 

This is a time to rejoice for these four lives saved from captivity and torture. Their return home represents great hope for other hostages still awaiting freedom. But with their rescue comes the trauma of captivity that these four Israelis will endure perhaps for the rest of their lives. This terrorist organization must be held accountable.

Hamas’s brand of evil is particularly calculated. As the physical war seems to be in Israel’s favor, Hamas maintains its offensive on the public-relations side, hiding itself and its hostages in civilian areas with a willingness to sacrifice Palestinian lives to damage Israel’s reputation. Such a large number of deaths accentuates the pain and suffering of this war, which is why we seek a swift Israeli victory to dismantle Hamas and restore some semblance of peace in the Middle East.