12. Pressure Hamas To Return Hostages

Hamas is currently holding the bodies of Israeli soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, and two Israelis who crossed into Gaza on their own and are still being held. Hamas has been using these living and deceased hostages as bargaining chips in an effort to force Israel to release Palestinians in Israeli prisons convicted of terrorism. This is contrary to international law and offends any sense of morality and ethics, and it cannot be the basis of any negotiations between Israel and Hamas. The international community, including states such as Turkey and Qatar that have influence with Hamas, must demand and pressure Hamas to return these hostages unconditionally. Not only is this required by any objective sense of basic decency, it is also contributing to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza due to domestic political pressure from the hostages’ families on the Israeli government not to take any steps to improve conditions in Gaza until the Israelis are returned.