Israel: We Are Eliminating Hamas, Will NOT Negotiate Over Hostages

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Israel: We Are Eliminating Hamas, Will NOT Negotiate Over Hostages

Israel has announced it will not negotiate with terrorist group Hamas over the release of 100 and 200 Israeli and international hostages.

The head of Israel’s National Security Council, Tzachi Hanegbi, said the days of negotiating with terrorists were over.

The Times of Israel reported:

National Security Council head Tzachi Hanegbi said on Saturday that there are no active negotiation efforts underway by Israel to repatriate the Israelis and some other foreign nationals kidnapped by Hamas last Saturday, saying “there is no way right now to have a negotiation” with the terror organization.

“Israel will not hold negotiations with an enemy that we have vowed to wipe from the face of the earth,” he said, briefing reporters at the Israel Defense Force’s Tel Aviv headquarters.

There are reportedly 50-200 hostages being held by Gaza terror groups.

Hanegbi’s remarks unsurprisingly caused anger among the families of Israeli hostages, who are already protesting for the government to do everything possible to secure their release.

NBC News reported:

Rescuing the hostages held by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip poses unprecedented and painful choices for Israel, which may have to place a higher priority on a military victory against its adversaries than saving all the hostages, former senior U.S. officials and military officers say.

Israel has a history of daring raids to rescue its citizens or kill its enemies, but the circumstances now are beyond anything the country has faced before. Israel estimates that 150 people are being held prisoner.

Any rescue attempt in Gaza would most likely be paired with a major military push to smash Hamas, an operation that could jeopardize the lives of the hostages.

Hamas has threatened to kill a hostage every time Israel bombs civilian targets in Gaza without warning.

“This is not going to be a John Wayne ending,” said a former federal law enforcement official who worked closely with Israel.

“The biggest challenge is intelligence — knowing where hostages are located and the conditions under which they are being held,” said retired Army Gen. Joseph Votel, who led U.S. Central Command and Special Operations Command.

An American team of experts is on the ground working with Israel to share intelligence and help with the hostage crisis, according to U.S. officials.

“I have directed my team to work with their Israeli counterparts on every aspect of the hostage crisis, including sharing intelligence and deploying experts from across the United States government to consult with and advise Israeli counterparts on hostage recovery efforts,” President Joe Biden said Tuesday.

“We need to be on the ground, in position,” said a former U.S. national security official familiar with hostage situations. Any opportunity to stage a rescue will be fleeting, the former official said.

In such complex conditions, military operations to retrieve hostages will carry an unusually high risk both for the captives and for the Israeli commandos taking part, who will be hard-pressed to secure reinforcements if anything goes wrong in an enclave where Hamas fighters are on familiar ground, former officials said.

Booby traps and the use of civilians and hostages as human shields are assumed.

“It’s going to be brutal,” said the former national security official.

Israel and Western intelligence services also will have to prepare for the possibility that Hamas will try to smuggle some of the hostages out of Gaza into Egypt and then to other countries, possibly even Iran, which is the group’s primary patron, the ex-official said.

Dating to the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979, Iran has a long track record of using foreign nationals as leverage over adversaries.

As CNN reported: More than 2,100 people, including 724 children and 458 women, have been killed in Gaza, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Gaza’s humanitarian crisis is spiraling, with warnings people are at risk of starvation, hospital generators on the verge of running out of fuel and whole streets reduced to rubble.

The Israeli military has warned people living in northern Gaza to evacuate south for their safety ahead of an expected surge in operations, including a possible ground invasion. UNICEF says that amounts to 1.1 million people, roughly half Gaza’s population and adds there is “nowhere safe for civilians to go.”