ZOA Urges Strong Support for Israel Immediately Resuming Battle to Destroy Hamas
News Press Release
November 27, 2023

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein and ZOA Director of Research and Special Projects Liz Berney, Esq. released the following statement:

The ZOA welcomes home the innocent Jewish and foreign hostages released over the past three days – namely, twenty-two innocent Jewish toddlers and children (including three-year-old* American-Israeli orphan Avigail Idan, who witnessed Hamas murdering her parents on October 7th, and turned four on Friday, while in captivity); eight Jewish mothers; nine elderly Jewish women (almost all in their 70s to mid-80s, including an 84-year-old in critical condition); a Russian-Israeli released at Putin’s request; eighteen Thai nationals and a Filipino citizen. These innocent hostages suffered living in absolute darkness in terror tunnels with minimal food. Gazan civilians and/or terrorists pummeled with rocks the vehicles taking the hostages out of Gaza. The hostages will have a long road to recovery. Hamas and PIJ murdered and/or are continuing to hold captive close family members and neighbors of these hostages. Hamas and PIJ are still holding almost 200 more hostages (including 18 more innocent babies, toddlers and children and 43 women).

At the same time, ZOA is extremely concerned about the following aspects of the hostage deal:

  • The deal risks causing people to lose sight of the primary goal and imperative to destroy the genocidal terror Islamist organization Hamas. Destroying Hamas is the only way to dramatically reduce the likelihood of more October 7ths. Top Hamas official Ghazi Hamad declared that Hamas will repeat the October 7th attack, again and again, until Israel is annihilated. Crushing Hamas is also the best way to obtain more hostage releases. If Hamas is not destroyed, it will also not be safe to return to and rebuild southern Israel, or live anywhere in Israel that Hamas’ rockets can reach. A further pause would thus be a mistake.

In a recent interview, brilliant Nobel laureate and game theory expert, Hebrew University Professor Yisrael (Robert) Aumann explained that the hostage and ceasefire deal was the wrong decision because it sent a strong signal that obtaining the return of the hostages is the main objective (rather than destroying Hamas); showed Israeli weakness of resolve to destroy Hamas; and will ultimately cause more dead Jews. Prof. Aumann added that Israeli weakness of resolve may enable Israel’s enemies to wipe out Israel.

Distinguished British journalist Melanie Phillips condemned the Biden administration for forcing Israel to make the hostage deal and pressuring Israel not to finish the war; and wrote: “The only realistic prospect of getting most of [the hostages] back . . . is if the IDF destroys Hamas as fast as possible. Instead, the deal makes an eventual victory for Hamas more likely. Having agreed to this ceasefire, Israel will find itself under increasing pressure from America and the west for additional and longer ceasefires “to get more of the hostages out.” That’s the way Hamas will survive to carry out its threat to repeat the October 7 massacres “again and again”.”

JNS Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Tobin similarly wrote that the hostage deal is “a terrible agreement from the viewpoint of [Israel’s] national security.” Tobin explained that what happens next is critical: “If Washington pressures Israel not to resume the fighting and to make subsequent deals for more halts to the Israel Defense Forces’ operations, . . . that would mean that Hamas will not just be allowed to get away with mass murder. It would also emerge, however battered and bloody, as the victor of the war this genocidal movement began on Oct. 7.”

ZOA thus urges President Biden, Congress and the American public to strongly support Israel’s post-pause immediate resumption of a full-scale offensive to dismantle and destroy Hamas. And Biden, Blinken and Lew must stop pressuring and threatening Israel to accept policies detrimental to the sovereign state of Israel’s security.

It is truly horrifying that Biden said during his speech on Friday that putting conditions on military aid to Israel is a “worthwhile thought.” This is the wrong message to send when the U.S. should be fully supporting Israel’s efforts to dismantle and destroy Hamas and all Palestinian Arab terrorism. Placing new conditions on aid would prevent Israel and the world from getting to where it needs to be: combatting and dismantling brutal, genocidal Islamic Hamas and other terrorists.

  • The initial four-day – and now six-day (or potentially longer) pause a.k.a ceasefire, and six-hours per day without Israeli drone surveillance enables Hamas and PIJ to regroup, rearm, relocate, establish new chains of command to replace Hamas leaders neutralized by Israel, move Gazan civilians into conflict zones to use as human shields, and move hostages to even more difficult-to-find-and-extract locations. Professor Aumann explained that Hamas’s demand of no drone surveillance for six hours a day means that Hamas has some specific plan that they want to carry out during those six hours; and that Hamas (and not Israel) needs the ceasefire. Former U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton declared that agreeing to the aerial surveillance pause is “utterly inexplicable and indefensible” and prepares Hamas for the next stage in combat. Hamas’s rearming, etc., dramatically increases the danger to Israel’s courageous young soldiers, and will cause more Israeli (and Palestinian) deaths.
  • The dual use items including fuel being sent into Gaza will enable Hamas to launch more rockets and operate its terror tunnel network, ultimately causing more Jewish deaths. Professor Aumann explained that game theory compels that because Hamas insistently demanded fuel, Israel should have said that Hamas is not going to get one gallon of fuel.
  • The 150 (to 300) Palestinian Arab terrorists released or on lists to be released from Israeli prisons are being celebrated and are likely to attack Jews again and again. The Hamas leader of the October 7th massacre, Yahya Sinwar, was released from an Israeli prison in the Gilad Shalit hostage deal. Professor Aumann explained that Sinwar took hostages on October 7 to again obtain a deal to free Palestinian Arab terrorists who will then murder Jews with the goal of wiping out Israel. Trading Palestinian Arab terrorists for innocent Jewish hostages sends dreadful messages encouraging more Jewish hostage abductions and morally equating innocent Jews to heinous, guilty Arab terrorists. The released Palestinian Arab terrorists were convicted and/or indicted for perpetrating attempted murder and/or other terror offenses, and are affiliated with terror groups Hamas, PIJ, PFLP and the Fatah/Palestinian Authority terror regime. For instance:
    • Released female terrorist Marah Jawdat Musa Bakir a.k.a Bakeer, affiliated with Hamas, was convicted and sentenced to 8.5 years in prison for stabbing and injuring two Israelis in Shimon HaTzadik / Sheikh Jarrah, Jerusalem.
    • Ragah Abu Kias, affiliated with Fatah, was sentenced to a little over 5 years for opening fire on Jews.
    • Saadi Abu Adi, connected with Hamas, was arrested and in pre-verdict detention for opening fire on, and throwing rocks at Jews.
    • Ahmed Marzouk was arrested four months ago for assaulting police, arson, possession of weapons, and other charges.
    • Released female prisoner Amani Heshim a.k.a Hashim was convicted and sentenced to 10 years for perpetrating a car-ramming attack and inflicting grievous bodily harm, armed with knives and daggers.
    • Walela Khaled Fozi Tangi, 26, was arrested last year and charged with attempted murder and possession of weapons and explosives.

(See also Palestinian prisoners swapped are criminals, unlike Israeli hostages,” by Yonah Jeremy Bob, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 26, 2023.)

ZOA also again urges President Biden to stop pushing for a Palestinian state and Palestinian Authority rule in Gaza – as Biden despicably did once again in his speech on Friday afternoon. The Palestinian Authority continues to pay terrorists huge lifetime pensions to murder Jews. The PA and UNRWA and their schools continue to praise and celebrate Hamas’s massacre of innocent Jews on October 7th. Placing the PA and/or a Palestinian state in charge of Gaza would simply replace one genocidal terror regime with another.

ZOA is reprinting below prominent Israeli Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh’s important letter:

To the dear families of the Israeli hostages in Gaza, Shalom uvrachah,

We are all with you as one person. We pray with all our hearts for the safety of our beloved sons and daughters, who are being held captive in the hands of a cruel enemy. We anticipate God’s salvation with their return to their families, in sound and complete health.

In answer to your question regarding the planned hostage release deal, let it be known that we strengthen you in your principled statement that it is forbidden for the government to surrender to terror and extortion. Stopping the war in the middle, while surrendering to the dictate of the enemy, is a grave danger to our soldiers and to all the citizens of Israel. It makes it possible for the enemy to re-arm and raise its head and is liable to bring about much bloodshed and even pre-empt victory.

The Torah provides us with the responsible approach: “There is no mitzvah greater than freeing hostages,” yet, it is forbidden to agree to extortion, which leads to severe problems in the future. Ceasing the fighting now is an exorbitant price that is prohibited to pay. We have all seen the terrible consequences of irresponsible deals made in the past, in which murderers were set free only to have them attack us again.

The right course to take for the hostages is to continue the war with full force and without halt, to actively seek to destroy the terror organizations, and to intensify the pressure on the enemy as much as possible. We must seek to reach a position of power, from which we will be able to dictate the conditions that will, with God’s help, bring about the release of all the hostages.

May God answer our prayers and hear our supplications, and may we merit to see the fulfillment of the verse, “And the ransomed of God shall return, and come singing into Zion, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall attain delight and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isaiah 51:11), speedily in our days, amen.

HaRav Yitzchak Ginsburgh; HaRav Dov Lior; Harav Shmuel Eliyahu; HaRav David Druckman; HaRav Eliyahu Zini

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