Because of Biden, the hostages’ return is going to take longer

The US should condition “saving the starving residents of Gaza” on the swift end of Hamas in Gaza and the release of all captives.

By Nadav Shragai | | Topics: Gaza, Hamas, Biden
Hamas terrorists in Gaza City, Sept. 21, 2022. Photo by Attia Muhammed/Flash90.
Hamas terrorists in Gaza City, Sept. 21, 2022. Photo by Attia Muhammed/Flash90.

The airdropping of aid to Gaza, and soon, also the special aid pier, solves a problem for US President Joe Biden with the progressive wing of his party.

It may even win back some of the Muslims who have voted against him or not shown up at the polls during the Democratic primaries. It is quite possible that this aid, which Biden has made a top priority of his policy towards Gaza, will allow Israel to continue walking the tightrope between low-intensity conflict and an American administration whose embrace of the Jewish state is gradually becoming a bear hug.

There is one thing, in any case, this increased humanitarian aid will not do: It will not advance the release of the captives. Quite the opposite. It will only harm their cause. The aid to Gaza makes the release of the captives, for which Biden promises not to rest until they return home, that much harder.

Increasing civilian aid to Gaza provides more and more oxygen to Hamas, delays a real uprising of the residents there against the Palestinian terrorist organization, and achieves the opposite of what Biden says he desires. Hamas understands humanitarian aid very differently from the way the US understands it. From Hamas’s perspective, it is more and more boxes of legitimacy for the continuation of its existence as the ruling power in the Strip and a toughening of its stance on the issue of the hostages.

If the US had a Middle Eastern mindset rather than a Western one, it would exploit the humanitarian disaster that befell Gaza and make clear to both Hamas and the mediators that the condition for “saving the starving residents of Gaza” is the swift end of Hamas, both militarily and in civilian life, and the release of all captives.

Instead, Biden puts the well-being of Gaza’s residents, many of whom have been involved in terrorism over the years, before the well-being of the captives. This encourages Hamas to raise the price for their release ever higher.

In World War II, against the original Nazis, the Allies did not consider airdropping humanitarian aid to the German population. These are new standards set specifically for Israel, and a distortion of any logic aimed at defeating an enemy like Hamas. Needless to say, the US has never acted this way in its wars.

The US applies this same flawed Western logic to the issue of the month of Ramadan and the matter of Rafah. Instead of making it clear to Hamas and the mediators that Israel, with American backing, will not hesitate to turn Ramadan from the “glorious month of Islamic victories” into a month that will go down in history as the month of its defeat, the US has opted to be considerate of Muslim sensitivities regarding this occasion.

Moreover, it has rewarded the organization for its Nazi violence—lifting the Israeli threat of an incursion in Rafah for a month, without any reciprocal action from Hamas, and tying Israel’s hands from operating freely there.