Palestine’s violent extremist arm, Hamas, rejected an offer by Israel to free the rest of their estimated 132 hostages on January 29th. According to Hamas, the deal wouldn’t happen because it didn’t have a permanent clause for Israel to cease any counteroffensive operations. Given the fact that Israel would have released 10k convicted Palestinian terrorists in the swap, it was heavily in their interest to agree.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken found the agreement to be one of the strongest proposed since the first prisoner swap back in October. During that initial ceasefire, Israel got back roughly 110 of the 243 people they had confirmed as being taken hostage by Hamas during the October 7th initial attack. He said the proposal from Qatar, “was a strong one and a compelling one that offers some hope that we can get back to this process, but Hamas will have to make its own decisions.”
The Jerusalem Post wrote, “Hamas rejected a hostage deal drafted in Paris over the weekend because it did not include a permanent ceasefire. Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) reiterated that Israel must halt its Gaza offensive and withdraw from the Strip before any prisoner exchange takes place, Hamas said in a statement on Monday.”
While many tried skipping over the terms of the deal, the Times of Israel outlines the deal that Hamas turned down. Offering a 45-day pause in the fighting in exchange for 35-40 in stage one, the Israelis offered 100-250 Palestinian prisoners for every Israeli given. Again, this is a great exchange rate, and for the people of Palestine, should be seen as an olive branch towards peace. Going forward, Israel would increase the number of prisoner releases for every hostage and extend the ceasefire at each step.
At this point, Hamas, with their Iranian backing and other militia support in the region, has made it crystal clear that they aren’t interested in peace. All they want is to fight and take over Israel, no matter the cost. They have said on numerous occasions that a two-nation state is no longer an option, so why should Israel keep giving them chances to exist?