Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will sacrifice the hostages in Gaza to win the war, and he believes the IDF are close to capturing and killing Hamas leaders, a peace negotiator told Daily Express US.
Hamas killed 1,200 civilians during its attack on Israel on October 7 while also taking over 200 hostages.
Gershon Baskin, the director of the International Communities Organisation who negotiated the release of a hostage from Hamas in 2011, believes Netanyahu will prioritise winning the war and removing Hamas from power rather than saving the hostages.
Mr Baskin remains in contact with Hamas officials, who he says seem as if they are unaware of how serious the situation is for them and the people of Gaza, where 27,000 people have been killed, according to the Hamas-run health ministry there..
Hamas proposed a three-phase ceasefire deal to Israel, which would see a 45-day pause in the fighting during which female hostages, men under 19, the elderly and the sick would be handed back in exchange for Palestinian women and children being released from Israeli prisons.
Under the plan, the two sides would then exchange remaining hostages for Palestinian prisoners with Israeli forces made to leave Gaza.
Netanyahu rejected the deal, adding that “total victory” can be achieved within months. Mr Baskin says that, through his communications with Hamas, it seems the group is living in “their own dream world.”
He adds that even the group’s leaders in Qatar and Lebanon are not safe from Israeli forces.
The negotiator continued: “I have no idea if Hamas understands that there is a realistic chance that Israel will find the leadership and kill them.
“Israel is massively destroying Gaza above and underground. I don’t know if they get it, Hamas lives in their own dream world. Israel is not talking about peace with anyone, they will not leave Hamas in power.
“There is a realistic chance Israel finds the Hamas leadership and kills them.
“I think Israel will eventually get to them also. I can imagine a scenario where Israel communicates to Qatar and the US that ‘if you don’t expel the Hamas leadership we will kill them on Qatari soil.'”