Biden Breaks Hostage Deal Pledge: Monday Arrives, No Agreement

US President Joe Biden (R), flanked by host Seth Meyers (L), eats an ice cream cone at Van
Jim WATSON / AFP via Getty

President Joe Biden has broken his pledge to deliver a deal for Hamas to release Israeli hostages by Monday, March 4 — a pledge he made a week before on the eve of the Michigan presidential primary, where he faced a large protest vote.

As Breitbart News reported on February 27:

President Joe Biden hopes for a ceasefire “by next Monday” in the Israel-Hamas war, pausing to offer his reflections while enjoying another much-favored ice cream break.

His comments, made after taping an appearance with talk show host Seth Meyers,  followed reports of some progress reached in ongoing negotiations involving Israel and Hamas terrorist representatives in Qatar.

But that progress was short-lived, as Hamas continued to insist that Israel end the war and leave Gaza as a condition to any hostage release. That demand effectively would mean Israel would lose the war and Hamas could return to rule.

In addition, Hamas refused to release the names of those hostages who are still alive. Of the 134 hostages, Israel believes that as many as 101 are still living. But it wants to know how many hostages are alive before making major and irreversible concessions, such as releasing Palestinian terrorists who have been convicted for deadly attacks on Israelis.

The president made his pledge as he faced a protest vote by roughy 100,000 Democrats who voted “uncommitted” to protest the war in Gaza. A hostage deal would come with a temporary ceasefire, which activists want to make permanent — despite (or because of) the fact that a permanent ceasefire with Hamas still intact means a victory for terror.

Biden began to lower expectations for a deal over the weekend, even as he pressured the leaders of Egypt and Qatar, the two key mediators with Hamas, to produce an agreement. Israel has set a deadline for March 10, the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, to produce a deal before it attacks Hamas in Rafah, the group’s last stronghold in southern Gaza.

According to the Times of Israel, citing the Wall Street Journal, Hamas has said that a deal may be more likely by the first weekend of Ramadan — i.e. after a week has passed. The Biden Administration has emphasized the need to avoid conflict during the holy month, but Hamas and other terror groups have called for increased “terror” during Ramadan.

Israeli government spokesman Avi Hyman, marking the 150th day of the war Hamas started on October 7, emphasized that Israel was willing and ready to make a deal, but would not bow to “unreasonable” demands by the terror group.

Hyman added that a terror attack at a gas station in Samaria (the northern West Bank) last week that killed two Israeli civilians had been carried out by a Palestinian Authority policeman. Israel has pushed back against President Biden’s effort to see the Palestinian Authority return to govern Gaza after the war, noting that it supports terror and is corrupt.

Addressing questions from Breitbart News about the timeline for a hostage deal, Hyman reiterated that Israel had not yet received a list of living Israeli hostages, nor had hostages been visited by the Red Cross, as required by international law.

“We’ve taken out 18 out of 24 Hamas battalions. … If we don’t destroy Hamas, then Hamas will return … to their aims as stated. … to perpetrate October 7 again, and again, and again. We won’t let that happen. We’re going for total victory.”

Hyman dismissed claims that Hamas did not know which hostages are still alive as the same “games” it played before.

“It’s not enough to perpetrate the war crime of taking innocent men, women, babies hostage, they have to toy with the families, too.” He added that Hamas had used the same tactic in the negotiations that led to releases in November.

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 recent book, “The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it),” now available on Audible. He is also the author of the 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.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.