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I haven't followed the war that closely in the past couple of months. I understand Israel now controls, or at least completely surrounded most cities in Gaza, except Rafah, and they are preparing to move in on that last "bastion".

IIRC, one of the goals of the war is to liberate the hostages that Hamas took to Gaza on Oct. 7. Aside from the negotiated settlement with Hamas from the end November, which saw some hostages released by Hamas in exchange for a short ceasefire, more aid, and even the release of some detained Palestinians, how many Israeli hostages we freed by Israeli forces by direct military actions?

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There was one hostage successfully rescued by the IDF. (at the end of October.) With the exception of this, the efforts to militarily rescue Israeli hostages have been unsuccessful, sometimes fatally so.

There is generally a widespread consensus among experts that the dual Israeli goals of rescuing the hostages and defeating Hamas are incongruent. See e.g., this NYT piece.

The claim that Hamas was "strong-armed" to negotiate is also dubious at best. The first hostage deal was in late-November. The vast majority of those released were elderly (many with complex medical needs), children and Thais, and even these were only given at a reasonably expensive price (3 Palestinian prisoners for 1 Israeli hostage). Furthermore, the negotiation of the Thai hostages was mediated separately by the Thai government and Iran. Hamas of course has no interest in keeping innocent, uninvolved Thais captive for an extended period of time. This was a humanitarian gesture, not a "strong-arm."

Since November, despite unprecedently aggressive Israeli military action especially on civilian infrastructure, Hamas has maintained a strong consistent stance that is only willing to entertain negotiations leading to permanent ceasefire and a massive prisoner swap.

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    "Israeli military action especially on civilian infrastructure" -- Said military infrastructure are housing weapon manufacturing plants, tunnels, or even command centers. And that goes as far as to hospitals or UNRWA headquarters, which contained significant military installation from Hamas. In such conditions, these targets are valid military targets.
    – Colombo
    Feb 13 at 1:29
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    "Hamas has maintained a strong consistent stance that is only willing to entertain negotiations leading to permanent ceasefire and a massive prisoner swap."-- Hamas broke every ceasefire so far. Including the event of 7th October. So the fact that Hamas is calling for ceasefire is not very relevant.
    – Colombo
    Feb 13 at 1:30
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    In the end, I feel that this answer is quite sinister because it is repeating Hamas propaganda while attempting to appear to be factual and impartial.
    – Colombo
    Feb 13 at 1:34
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    "Hamas of course has no interest in keeping innocent, uninvolved Thais captive for an extended period of time." this is personal opinion Feb 15 at 8:28
  • this answer is based on a personal opinion. the facts are actually different Feb 15 at 23:02
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As of 12/2/2024, the answer is 3:

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