Well, I warned you; here is #2. One subject today is at least as popular as the war battles. That is the subject of hostages. I have many thoughts here, and I hope you will consider them.
I am troubled by the great amount of rumor [uncertain or doubtful report] and discussion of this subject before it happens. First, hostage release negotiations are extremely sensitive, and anything spoken or written about them can affect their success. Second, there is a strong element of self-fulfilling prophecy here. I heard someone close to the negotiations say a deal was very close. Is there not an itty-bitty chance that this disclosure will force a suboptimal deal? Here’s what the psychologists say:
The standard of scientific explanations is their ability to predict. Predictions of subjective experience, if accurate at all, are most likely self-fulfilling prophecies, that is, the behavior of those who buy into explanations make them true.”
Get it? Too many people are blabbering about a deal, and now it might happen whether we want it or not.
It is complicated. The negotiator is an experienced Government servant with a great deal of self-esteem. We need to help him protect himself and the negotiations. Who leaks that information anyway? In the word of President Biden in a different context, “Don’t”. IMHO, there ought to be a law, a gag order, on the subject of hostages. Zero in the media on the subject until it is over, subject to imprisonment and fines. No news, no editorials, no feature stories, no nothing, except for a reverent reminder of the number of days in captivity (which made me cry and pray every time I saw it with respect to Pollard.) Get your kicks somewhere else.
Another thing bothers me. Do you recall that early on, Bibi and others said, “There will be no ceasefire until all the hostages have been returned”? Well, the reports say there is going to be a ceasefire of 1-5 days in return for several tens of women and children hostages. And don’t try to tell me Bibi meant a permanent ceasefire; the whole world knows that even beyond the return of the hostages we are committed to finishing off Hamas. So Bibi meant a temporary ceasefire. We know that the Humanitarian Pauses do not include a cessation of warfare, so we have been consistent thus far. But how are we going to justify the new deal? I cannot answer that. I do want, though, to consider our blessed, inspired fighting men and women. We will need to ensure they understand the reasons it’s a good deal. We need to keep their morale high. Also, we need to figure a way to minimize Hamas’s benefits from the ceasefire.
Are there going to be Hamas prisoners in the deal? Is it going to be an even exchange? One terrorist for every woman and child? Or even way more than one? Are they going to go right back into the fighting? Or are we going to stipulate that they relocate to a country with no terrorist connections and with extradition rights to Israel?
What about the hostages that are not returned at this time according to the alleged deal? Do you think Hamas is going to want to make the same deal as for the first batch? I don’t. All logic says there will be a higher price. And then a still higher one… No! We must stay tough. We must just say “No!” Bibi, you committed. Do not let us down. The optimum way to bring back the hostages is to free them ourselves.
An interesting fact: the families’ organization, Bringthemhomenow, seems to still be insisting on freeing all the hostages together. This is a very courageous stance. (It appears, though, that they no longer claim to represent 95% of the hostage families. Perhaps they lost some for this reason.) What about the individual families, who have undergone enormous pain, stress, doubt, and fear? You probably heard many of them expressing their hopes and thoughts in no uncertain terms. Well, we must love them and hug them and cry with them, but we must not give in to their point of view. We must take a wider view, a responsible national view, one that will gain the return of all our hostages – quickly, Please God.