Now Hamas is using the hostages to play on Western respect for human life. Hamas knows its strategy is dividing Israeli opinion between those who prioritize the release of the hostages and those who want Hamas defeated so it can never again slaughter 1,200 people.
Hamas is also manipulating the world, including the Biden Administration. President Biden said Sunday he hopes the initial four-day military truce can be extended so more hostages will be released. That includes the unknown number of Americans held in who-knows-what condition underground. Hamas released the first U.S. hostage on Sunday, a 4-year-old American-Israeli girl, Abigail Edan, whose parents were murdered in front of her.
But every day the truce lasts the more time the jihadists have to regroup, slip out of Gaza, rearm, or plan more ambushes against Israelis. And the longer it lasts the more odds increase of an extended cease-fire, which is what Hamas really wants. The onus will fall on Israel to end the truce, though Hamas is unlikely ever to release all hostages, who are its only source of leverage.
This is a terrible choice that Hamas doesn’t have to make because it considers civilians, including Palestinians, to be expendable weapons of war. That’s why it hides in hospitals, schools and mosques—and kidnaps women and children to serve its murderous ends.