Negotiators in Doha, Qatar, over the release of further groups of Israeli hostages have divided them into groups and categories — like cattle, with each group to fetch a different price in the negotiation.
This humiliating exercise, itself a public relations victory for Hamas, will enable the terror organization to demand different prices for each group — far more than the three Palestinian terror convicts for every woman and child in the first six exchanges.
The result is a process that looks more like bartering over goods in a Middle Eastern bazaar than a discussion about human beings — all of whom were kidnapped in a terror attack, and all of whom are being held in violation of international law, without Red Cross visits.
The description of negotiations between Hamas, Qatar, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the Israeli Mossad was published by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius on Tuesday evening.
The negotiators agreed on five categories of Israeli hostages for future releases, the knowledgeable source said. The five groups are: men too old for reserve military duty, female soldiers, male reservists, active-duty male soldiers, and the bodies of Israelis who died before or during captivity. The total is well over 100, but the source said he couldn’t provide a precise number as yet.
Hamas has expressed “willingness to negotiate on all five categories,” the source said. He added that parameters of the exchange — such as how many Gaza captives would be freed each day, how many Palestinian prisoners would be exchanged for each Israeli, and how much humanitarian assistance would be sent into Gaza — haven’t been worked out.
One complication is that Hamas has spread the hostages out among different groups — they did this with the Bibas family, whose infant was given to another terrorist group.
Already, previous exchanges have presumed that only women and children would be released — which has resulted in the cruel spectacle of mothers and children being liberated while husbands and fathers are still in captivity.
Israel had initially vowed not to negotiate at all with Hamas, which it says it wants to destroy. It has now been forced, though both domestic pressure and international pressure, to participate in a process in which it must differentiate among groups of hostages — and in which it is negotiating with Hamas, lending it legitimacy and allowing it to buy time and build its base of global support.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.