‘Hamas can regroup’: DC reacts to Israel-Hamas hostage deal
Israel and Hamas agreed to a four day pause in fighting during which time Hamas will release 50 hostages and Israel will release Palestinians they are holding in jail. Aid trucks with water, food and other supplies will also cross into the Gaza strip.
Officials confirmed to CNN that the ceasefire begins Thursday at 10 am local time. There’s an option to extend the truce if Hamas releases more hostages.
But regardless, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after it’s over, the Israeli Defense Forces will keep fighting quote: “until we achieve all our goals.” In his words, their goals are to destroy Hamas and ensure an attack like October 7 can never happen again.
As Washington lawmakers consider new aid packages to Israel’s military and humanitarian relief for the Palestinian people, what do they think of the deal?
First and foremost, the President and other top Democrats said they will continue working to bring all American hostages home. Nine American citizens are still missing and the White House says they don’t know if all of them are alive. But they expect three to be released in the initial group of 50.
The top democrat in the House of Representatives, Hakeem Jeffries, said this deal is an important step forward. But he added, “In order to arrive at a just and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinian people, Hamas must be decisively defeated. The groundwork must also be laid to achieve a two-state solution that ensures security, dignity and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians.”
The White House National Security Adviser also addressed concerns that Hamas could regroup during a ceasefire.
“Hamas can regroup, it can rest, it can reorient itself and yes, take advantage of this time. But this was a cost that Israel was prepared to pay because the human benefit of reuniting people with their families, especially women and children, was so profound and compelling,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told CBS Mornings.
Pro-Paletinian protestors and some members of Congress have called for a ceasefire, and Hamas’ ability to regroup and refuel during that time has been one of the main counter-arguments against that.
Republicans have been quiet. The House Foreign Affairs Committee led by Republican Chairman Michael McCaul told SAN, “We’re monitoring the situation closely.”
At the time of publication, SAN had not heard anything back from the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations committee nor Senator Lindsey Graham who has been outspoken about his support for Israel.