Tuesday Talk*: After The Ceasefire

As the four-day Israel-Hamas ceasefire enters its fifth day, the question remains: What happens when the hostage release comes to an end?

The tenuous truce between Israel and Hamas appeared to hold for a fifth day on Tuesday, an act of continued cooperation that could allow for additional aid to flow into Gaza and the release of more hostages, prisoners and detainees than initially expected.

A sixth day is, as of now, expected, and Israel has confirmed that the ceasefire will continue as long as Hamas continues to release hostages. During this time, aid trucks continue to roll into Gaza and Hamas is anticipated to make use of the ceasefire, and perhaps the aid, to regroup, rearm, resupply and prepare to continue to fight. But has Israel lost its momentum? Can it simply return to the course of action taken before the ceasefire now that the fighting has stopped?

There was always a question as to whether Israel’s goal of eliminating Hamas in Gaza was realistic. As Hamas used Gazans as their shields, their mechanisms of evoking outrage beyond Gaza, Hamas remained entrenched in tunnels where its terrorists were protected from Israeli bombing and attacks while Gazans were exposed to Israel’s efforts. Now that Hamas has had the opportunity to regroup, has Israel made its efforts even more difficult, more impossible to achieve?

On the other hand, can Israel walk away and leave Hamas, the terrorists who perpetrated the rape, kidnapping and murder of Israelis on October 7th, to do so again and again?

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has expressed openness to an extension of the truce, but has also made clear that he intends for Israel to resume fighting after the pause ends in order to “eliminate” Hamas.

There is little doubt that Hamas’ kidnapping of hostages to be used as bargaining chips, whether for the release of terrorists in Israeli custody or to curb the Israeli retaliation that was certain to follow its horrific attack, has worked very well in its favor. If nothing else, this has served as a roadmap for future terrorist attacks, to not merely rape and brutally murder, but to kidnap so there are women and children to trade back later.

But eventually, and that eventuality may come sooner rather than later, there will be no  living hostages to release. What then? Will the world tolerate another round of fighting with the bulk of harm falling on the Gazans behind whom Hamas hides? Will Israelis be able to muster the same level of zeal to follow through with its action to eliminate Hamas now that some hostages have been freed and there has been a hiatus in fighting? Is there any point to renewed fighting or is it doomed to fail the goal of self-defense from terrorism?

It’s one thing to fight in the aftermath of the horrific October 7th attack. It’s another to resume fighting after a ceasefire and release of at least some hostages. Can Israel go back to fighting? Should it? If not, what happens then, since Hamas has asserted without equivocation that it will persist in its terrorist attacks and, to the shock of all thinking human beings, has enjoyed the support of a great many young people in the perpetration of terrorism?

*Tuesday Talk rules apply, within reason.

12 thoughts on “Tuesday Talk*: After The Ceasefire

  1. Turk

    You say that eventually there will be no prisoners left to exchange. But kidnapped Israeli Gilad Shalit was held for 5 years before being swapped for 1,000+ prisoners.

    Hamas will drag this out as long as they can. And that can be very, very long.

    Netanyahu says that as long as they release 10 hostages a day, the cease-fire will hold. But what will he do when Hamas releases nine or seven or three?

  2. Mark Daniel Myers

    Israel is in an existential conflict, and must, as always, consider not just the present conflict, but the next one. The shock and awe of destroying Hamas needs to dissuade further attacks, but that seems like a Sisyphean task when fighting a suicide death cult that deliberately puts its own civilians in harms way. Terrorist simps and Tiktok progressives are useful idiots to Hamas, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Israel seems unprepared for the social media warfare aspect, and mainly needs to improve in that area, but that’s also a matter of Brandolini’s Law.

  3. B. McLeod

    To defeat Hamas, the IDF will have to fight in the tunnels, placing its units at risk of thousands, or even tens of thousands, of casualties. Before renewing the fighting, Israelis should decide if they are willing to accept such losses. If they are not, they are wasting their time and money bombing and occupying surface structures. It would be more sensible to withdraw and enhance border defenses to defeat future Hamas attacks.

    1. Jake

      Agreed. The current strategy is a waste of time, money, and political capital. Israel is choosing to bomb civilians instead of rolling up their sleeves to do the real work and fight their enemies.

  4. Richard Parker

    The 1000 for 1 hostage deal that Israel negotiated lead to this. Hostage exchanges should be on a 1 to 1 basis. (I wouldn’t quibble about some small change.)

  5. Ray

    Hamas has to be destroyed. I think Israel will continue fighting. I think it will be methodical and great care will be taken to limit the number of civilian casualties, which unfortunately will come at a high cost to the soldiers of the IDF. Israel will be forced to occupy Gaza for a long time and be more involved with the schools educating children. Iran has to be held accountable. Things won’t change unless Jordan and Egypt absorb Gaza and the West Bank–I’ve heard this called the three state solution. I just don’t think a two-state solution can work when one side has taken the mantra “from the river to the sea.” We must be steadfast in our support of Israel and make it clear to the rest of the world. We must also address the rise in antisemitism in our own country.

  6. Mike V.

    “It’s one thing to fight in the aftermath of the horrific October 7th attack. It’s another to resume fighting after a ceasefire and release of at least some hostages. Can Israel go back to fighting? Should it?”

    IMO, Israel will have to go back on the offensive at some point. They have to hurt Hamas, and it’s leadership in Qatar to the point they slap the next person who suggests a 10/7 type attack. Otherwise, Hamas will repeat the cycle, as will the other terror groups in the region.

  7. hard-line

    What ever happened to “we do not negotiate with terrorists”. The original fear has come true. It has to stop. Many hostages and kidnap victims have been lost to the original hard-line thinking. This hostage-taking and unreasonable negotiations (1000 for 1) will continue until we refuse to negotiate.
    Fighting should escalate until Hamas is no longer a memory.
    God bless, and have mercy on the souls of the hostages.

    1. KeyserSoze

      Create a desert and call it peace.

      As Lemay said: “If you kill enough of them, they stop fighting.” Also attributed to “Bomber” Harris.

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