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Israel Issues Ultimatum to Hamas Over Hostages

In a bold declaration that could have a significant impact on the war in Gaza, Israel has issued a stern ultimatum to Hamas: Release the hostages or spend Ramadan dodging Israeli rockets. This development comes as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are working to rescue hostages taken during Hamas’ October 7 surprise attack on Israel.

The ultimatum was issued by Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s war cabinet on Sunday.

“The world must know, and Hamas leaders must know — if by Ramadan our hostages are not home, the fighting will continue everywhere, to include the Rafah area,” Gantz said.

The holy Muslim month of Ramadan begins this year on March 10.

“We will do so in a coordinated manner, facilitating the evacuation of civilians in dialogue with our American and Egyptian partners to minimize civilian casualties,” the former IDF chief of staff and defense minister told the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, as they convened in Jerusalem.

“To those saying the price [of an offensive] is too high, I say this very clearly: Hamas has a choice — they can surrender, release the hostages, and the citizens of Gaza will be able to celebrate the holy holiday of Ramadan,” he said.

Gantz’s declaration was made during a conference in Jerusalem and was attended by several influential Jewish organizations from America. Rafah is one of the remaining strongholds for Hamas, as it tried to fend off Israel’s onslaught.

The Biden administration, along with other global leaders, have cautioned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against proceeding with the offensive without a “credible and executable plan” to ensure the safety of civilians. However, the prime minister has pushed back on those trying to convince him to go easier on the terrorist organization.

Rafah, which sits on the Gaza-Egypt border, is the last remaining Hamas stronghold in the enclave, but it is also where over a million displaced Palestinians have fled to seek shelter from fighting elsewhere.

US President Joe Biden has warned Netanyahu that a military incursion “should not proceed without a credible and executable plan for ensuring the safety of and support” of the city’s civilian population. Similar warnings have been issued by many of Israel’s Western allies.

Netanyahu has said such a plan is in the works, while declaring Sunday that “those who want to prevent us from operating in Rafah are essentially telling us: ‘Lose the war.’”

As Israel braces for an expanded conflict, the international community is watching. While Hamas is still active, the IDF could also have to contend with Hezbollah, an Iran-backed terrorist organization headquartered in Lebanon. The IDF has already had numerous skirmishes with the group along the Lebanon-Israel border.

As Ramadan inches closer, Hamas will have some choices to make as it appears Israel has grown tired of waiting for prisoner/hostage swap agreement. If the terrorist group agrees to free the rest of the hostages, it could buy itself some more time. However, Israel’s leadership has made clear time and time again that they will not settle for anything less than the complete destruction of Hamas. It is a tricky scenario for Israel as well since they are seeking to rescue the hostages. Either way, the next few weeks will yield some interesting developments.

READ 7 COMMENTS
  • andrew says:

    so weird that the world puts demands on Israel to stop, yet nobody demands hamas release the hostages, other than as a talking point. They could force Hamas to do so if they wished, by putting the pressure on those nations supporting hamas yet crickets.

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