As its leverage dwindles, Hamas wants to have its cake and eat it too

Opinion: Hamas still possesses most of the hostages taken on October 7, and will milk it for every additional moment of humanitarian pause it can possibly attain, hoping America's appetite for war ends and pressure put on Israel
Ron Ben-Yishai|
With the Israel-Hamas ceasefire being extended one day at a time, it's clear Hamas is utilizing every trick in the book to prolong the pause in the fighting, no doubt fearing IDF's continued ground offensive, set to extended further south including the southern tip where the Rafah crossing is located.
<< Follow Ynetnews on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TikTok >>
Read more:
Not only is their very ability to govern as a viable entity within Gaza lies in peril, but with every passing day, IDF forces are demolishing an ever increasing number of their buildings and infrastructure.
2 View gallery
שחרור החטופות מהשבי בעזה
שחרור החטופות מהשבי בעזה
Prisoners released from Hamas captivity
(Photo: Reuters)
Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war.
At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on "revitalizing" their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.
Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same "3 for 1" deal they've had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.
2 View gallery
Gilad Shalit returns to Israel in October 2011, after more than five years in Hamas captivity in Gaza
Gilad Shalit returns to Israel in October 2011, after more than five years in Hamas captivity in Gaza
Hamas dreams of the deal it had when Gilad Shalit returned to Israel in October 2011, after more than five years in Hamas captivity
(Photo: Archive)
In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said "remember the number one, one, one, one." While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.
That, of course, requires negotiations, and now Sinwar is beginning to offer up the bodies of hostages instead of live ones. Hamas has quite a few of those, some killed on October 7 during the attack, others dying in captivity. Pursuant to Hamas' Islamist perception, fighting age males hold a much higher value, so he'll leave those last.
The commenter agrees to the privacy policy of Ynet News and agrees not to submit comments that violate the terms of use, including incitement, libel and expressions that exceed the accepted norms of freedom of speech.