Israel faces moral and military dilemma over Gaza hostages

The sight of Nathalie Raanan and her mother Judith offers a glimmer of hope in the ocean of pain that is currently the Middle East. The release by Hamas of these two Americans detained in Gaza since October 7 was unexpected. Nothing has filtered out on the nature of the transactions which allowed this happy outcome, visibly made possible by Qatari mediation, which was widely praised. The same day, the intensity of the bombings decreased and humanitarian trucks returned to the Palestinian enclave. Proof, if any were needed, that pressure from chancelleries can produce encouraging results. But the relief may well be short-lived. The first to fear it are the Gazans but also the families of dozens of other people still in the hands of the factions operating in the coastal strip.

Saving the hostages and eradicating Hamas, two incompatible imperatives

First there were statements that undoubtedly chilled the blood of the families of the hostages.
Nir Barkat, Israeli Minister of Economy, recently told an American channel – I quote: “We will do everything possible to bring back our hostages, to bring them back alive, but the first and last priority is to destroy Hamas. » Eradicate the enemy first. So save the lives of the Jews. This would mark a breakdown in the social contract of a nation built on the promise of life and security for its Jewish citizens. This may just be a simple manipulation of information. Regardless, this official’s statement alone sums up the military and moral dilemma these hostages represent. Faced with their very mobilized families, voices are being heard in Israel to say that the bargaining must stop because it would reward the enemies of the country. These voices cite precedents which have left traces. Among the 1,027 Palestinians released against Gilad Shalit in 2011, there is the current leader of Hamas in Gaza but also, according to the Israeli army, the commander who carried out the terrorist attack of October 7, a man whom the Hebrew state claims. have since eliminated it. According to the Israeli press, the United States but also European countries are currently trying to delay the land incursion promised by Israel. This is about allowing diplomacy to continue its efforts. Doha claims to be able to free all the hostages. The Israeli government knows that as the days pass and Palestinian deaths accumulate, its room for maneuver diminishes, as does the Western solidarity initially expressed. Israel now faces an impossible choice: concessions or intransigence. He must decide quickly, knowing that in both cases, those responsible will not escape their responsibility in what turns out to be the worst security failure that the Jewish state has experienced since its proclamation in 1948.

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