During the coverage of the hostage release deal between Israel and Hamas last month. I was taken back by the tone of voice from one of Fox News hosts who asked their reporter in Israel, "Where are the Americans hostages?" The correspondent had no idea, but I do. Israel insisted all its prisoners be freed first. Israel could care less about American hostages.
Additionally, under that negotiated swap deal, no captive IDF soldiers will be freed. That also meant that any foreign nationals aka American citizens will not be freed if they're members of the IDF. Those will be considered by Hamas as soldiers and not civilians. They'll be kept until a final "all for all" deal is reached.
Hamas spokesman repeatedly said that it's ready for "partial for partial" or "all for all" deal. A partial deal would entail all civilian hostages be traded for all Palestinian women and children, and "all for all" deal will be all IDF soldiers traded for all Palestinian prisoners (10,000) held in Israel. The ball is now in Israel's court.
After all, why should the US provide aid to any American citizen who betrayed America by serving in the armed forces of a foreign nation, i.e. Israel?
As I am writing this today, trigger-happy IDF killed three Israeli hostages in northern Gaza's Shcejaiya neighborhood during a blood battle. Currently, there are still about 8 Israeli-US citizens among the 133 hostages held in Gaza.
If President Biden and Sec. of State Blinken are genuine about the release of the American hostages, they should demand Israel immediately negotiate POW exchange deals with Hamas. It did work last month, and lives have been saved on both sides.
Instead of focusing on bringing American hostages home, Sec. Blinken chose instead to repeat Israeli propaganda of unsubstantiated horror stories of an Israeli family of four who were murdered and their bodies were mutilated. This was a foolish thing to say, and it does promote both Islamophobia and antisemitism.
On a lighter note, for those who depict Hamas as evil and pure savages. They should also remember that Hamas has previously released two elderly Israelis for health reason and all Thai citizens as a goodwill gesture even though they were not covered by the deal. Not to mention, Hamas fighters did provide care for the released teenaged hostage's dog during her stay. Another release mother wrote a thank you letter to a Hamas fighter who took care and entertained her preteen daughter.
Mahmoud El-Yousseph is a Palestinian freelance writer and retired USAF veteran. He could be reached at: [email protected]