Sinwar blocking hostage deal

Opinion: Hamas leader in Gaza believes international pressure could stop Israel's military offensive and refuses to proposed truce, prisoner release in exchange for freeing hostages
Ron Ben Yishai|
Israel changed its policy on the hostage crisis in recent days and began taking initiatives rather than waiting for Hamas demands and the proposals of Qatar and Egypt.
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But those initiatives have come up against the uncompromising position of Yahya Sinwar and the Hamas's leadership in Gaza, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) who want a complete end to the fighting, withdrawal of IDF troops, and only then, for negotiations to begin on the release of the captives, and the freeing of Palestinians held in Israeli jails.
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יחיא סינוואר
יחיא סינוואר
Yahya Sinwar
(Photo: EPA)
The Hamas demand could not be father from the Israeli proposal, that included a week-long truce, if not a bit longer, and increased humanitarian aid in addition to the release of prisoners, including some heavy hitters convicted of murder.
The government's initiative was made to show the families of hostages held in Gaza, that their plight was moved up to the top of the list of objectives, even at the cost to the elimination of Hamas.
It appears that Sinwar and his brother Mohammed, who are at the moment dictating Hamas's position to the leadership in Doha, believe that they would be able to stop the military advances of the IDF through international pressure.
The Hamas leaders who reside in Qatar, have therefore echoed the demand when they arrived in Cairo for talks, along with PIJ leader Ziad Nahala. Israel believes that if and when Sinwar is killed, the Hamas position would change.
The U.S. is in complete agreement with Israel over its position on the hostages and its plans for the continuation of the war, as they were presented to National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Sec. of Defense Lloyd Austin and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Charles Brown during their recent visits.
Israel would transition to phase three of the war, which would be a lower intensity operation in certain parts of the Strip including the northern areas while forces concentrate efforts on destroying Hamas's underground tunnel system.
But in the central areas of the Strip the offensive would continue using more precise attacks, in an effort to eliminate the terror group's leadership and locate the hostages. Air Strikes there would be intelligence based to avoid harm to the displaced Gazan's seeking refuge there and in the south.
Israel hopes that the intensity of attacks in Khan Younis would impress upon Sinwar the understanding that he cannot bring the fighting to an end, so least because of the U.S. support of the Israeli position and would be more agreeable to negotiations.
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Ismail Haniyeh
Ismail Haniyeh
Ismail Haniyeh
(Photo: EPA )
The government is also hoping that the Qatari and Egyptian pressure on Hamas, brought on by pressure from the U.S., would yield results while forces increase their stronghold on Khan Younis and the Hamas leadership in the Strip.
But any results at all would not be seen for the next week or two. The only positive sign is the apparent disagreement with in Hamas, between its leadership abroad and Sinwar.
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