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Return of Israeli Hostages Brings More Questions Than Answers

After 48 days of a brutal war that bewildered the entire world, a sense of relief came over the Jewish community as a ceasefire was agreed between Israel and Hamas. The most jarring news to come out of the deal was the release of 50 innocent Israeli hostages in return for 150 Palestinian prisoners. The fragile ceasefire was extended, with the agreement that ten hostages would be released every additional day the ceasefire was upheld. The ceasefire finally ended on Dec. 1, with the fighting immediately restarting. 

For the most part, both sides held up their part of the ceasefire deal. Although Hamas released the agreed-upon amount of hostages, the terrorist organization violated the agreement on the military front. A mere fifteen minutes after the ceasefire began, Hamas rockets headed for Southern Israel were reportedly intercepted by the Iron Dome. Following this incident, people across the world spent a few emotional and heartwarming days looking at photos and videos of women and children returning to their families. However, the joy was brought to an abrupt stop on Wednesday, Nov. 28, when it was reported that Hamas troops in Gaza launched an attack on IDF soldiers, leaving multiple wounded. This attack raised many questions about the legitimacy of the ceasefire and whether it was a mistake to negotiate with a terrorist group.

Nearly everyone can agree that bringing the innocent hostages home should be the main priority in this situation; the gray area lies in the fundamental nature of the deal and any future release agreements. Does bringing hostages home rely on negotiating with a terrorist organization that has openly called for the destruction of Israel and its people? Is it morally correct to negotiate with and place trust in terrorists? Is it tactically correct? After all, the ceasefire marked the halt of the IDF’s air strikes and ground missions into Gaza, which presented an opportunity for Hamas to recover and repair the damage IDF forces have caused. Did the ceasefire undermine the hard work of the soldiers in their efforts to neutralize Hamas as a threat?

The troubling fact is that none of these questions have “right” answers. As the November ceasefire showed, there is a great deal of uncertainty that comes with truces. With each passing day, the likelihood of finding and rescuing the hostages gradually decreases. It is apparent that another truce will be needed in order to bring the remaining hostages back home; however, neither side trusts the other, and that doesn’t seem as though it will change in the foreseeable future. 

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