Thousands of families of Israeli prisoners march towards Netanyahu's office (Anatolia)
JERUSALEM – Sharp differences took place in the Israeli "War Cabinet" session, in which a number of released Israeli detainees participated as part of the exchange deal between Israel and the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas, in the presence of a delegation from the families of detainees who remained in the Gaza Strip.
The session brought more pressure on Benjamin Netanyahu's government to reach a comprehensive deal and free all detainees. The families' demands for the speedy release of the 139 remaining detainees in Gaza by official Israeli recognition threaten a return to the protests that escalated before the end of the truce last Friday morning, and to exert more pressure on the Israeli government to carry out other stages of exchange in exchange for an extension of the ceasefire.
The hearing, which was described as "noisy", included an exchange of accusations with officials, while some relatives of the detainees insulted members of the military council, and carried initial signs of escalating protests demanding a comprehensive exchange deal.
The debate at the hearing and the criticism leveled by the families of Israelis held by Hamas to the members of the War Cabinet reflected divergent positions on the developments of the war and the feasibility of the ground incursion, and whether this operation achieved its goals.
The analysis intersected with the hostage families' argument that the release of Israeli detainees was achieved through an exchange deal, not through military operations.
Israeli writer Nadav Eyal strongly criticized the political and governmental level, and asked where is the diplomatic campaign to liberate Israelis from Gaza? Why not lift a finger in order to free the hostages? "The possibility of eliminating Hamas will be in our hands in the future as well, and the lives of Israeli hostages in Gaza are in grave danger," he said.
Writing in Yedioth Ahronoth, Eyal said, "Netanyahu has not been able to rise to the occasion, and Israel has discovered more than at any time since October 7 that sympathy is not its strength."
According to the principle of "all for all" put forward by the Palestinian resistance (i.e., all Israeli detainees in Gaza versus all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons), "it may be far-fetched, as estimates indicate that the Israeli security establishment will never approve of it, and ultimately, the abductees are the ultimate human shield of the Hamas leadership's tunnel network."
Eyal questioned the usefulness of the ground maneuvers in pressuring Hamas to free more Israeli detainees, relying on a senior Israeli official associated with the conduct of the war who stated that "there is no doubt that if there is any additional proposal to free more Israelis from Gaza, we will discuss and negotiate, and if we have to, we will stop the military operation for a few days."
Yedioth Ahronoth devoted its pages to the file of Israeli detainees and the session of the War Cabinet (Al Jazeera)
Detainees and the course of war
Tal Lev Ram, a military correspondent for Maariv, believes that "with the rate of ground advance, as well as the intensity of fighting and battles, the rhetoric calling for the liberation of Israeli detainees will return."
The military correspondent predicted that the ground battles in Khan Yunis will gradually increase and become the main effort of the Israeli army, and said that "dealing with Khan Yunis poses a different challenge, as it is still crowded with Gazans who fled the war zone in the northern Gaza Strip."
According to the correspondent, "A large part of Hamas' senior leadership in Khan Yunis will head towards Rafah, which will prevent the Israeli army, which is still far from controlling the land and the tunnel network beneath it. The abductee issue may also have an impact on operational activity, and this element is also important in planning to avoid harming abductees."
The correspondent believes that "the psychological war waged by Hamas will escalate in the coming days, and after the use of significant military force, Israel will try to exhaust another important step to free the abductees, when it is clear that the passage of time puts them at great risk, especially the elderly, the wounded and the sick."
Goals and time
Amos Harel, a military analyst at Haaretz, explained that after two months of harsh war, fighting in the Gaza Strip is actually escalating, while both the United States and the IDF General Staff have the impression that Netanyahu is acting on political considerations.
But the continuation of the fighting, the military analyst said, "would deepen the damage done to senior Hamas leaders, as the systematic attack has not yet reached the level of Sinwar and his group, and this is already one of the difficulties facing Israel, as intelligence invests a huge operational and intelligence effort with the clear aim of trying to reach Sinwar before the end of the war."
"The leadership in Israel can also use the damage done to Gaza and Hamas leaders as a justification to reduce the ground offensive and shorten the war, but it is not clear whether its objectives can be achieved in a short time frame, as all phases of the ground operation are only weeks away."
But Netanyahu does not manage Israeli strategy on practical, security and military considerations, refrains from discussing his plans for Gaza for the next day, and stubbornly refuses to leave a foothold for the Palestinian Authority in the Strip, only because of coalition constraints in the government and his far-right partners.
Haaretz devoted its internal pages to analytical articles on the ground incursion and the file of Israeli detainees in Gaza (Al Jazeera)
Israel and the image of victory
As the Israeli war on Gaza enters its third month, the editor of the Walla website, Nir Kipnis, wrote an article entitled "60 Days After the War, Is Israel Moving Away from the Image of Victory?"
"The people of Israel fought this war with full faith, and with each passing day it becomes clear that this credit we have given to our government and army is the real hourglass that is running out," he said.
"This war, which from the first hour of its occurrence, while some senior officers were still sleeping in their beds, shook us from the ground up, and plunged us into a gap that is bigger and deeper than we thought, between our self-image and the reality that continues to shake and shake Israel."
Hamas's policies and approaches may end and eliminate it in the future, but in the meantime, it often counts victories, even though entire neighborhoods in Gaza have been razed to the ground, freeing Hamas prisoners, perhaps the most cherished cause in the hearts of Palestinians.
"Hamas releases only whomever it wants, according to the criteria and categories it has set, it frees Israeli detainees whenever it wants, and even delays the release of women and children, as it has also been hinted in Israel that some of those included in this category are few, and Hamas is not interested in revealing their names without a deal," he said.
Source : Al Jazeera