Former hostage negotiator on Sky TG24: “At the end of the war Hamas will not control Gaza”

Gershon Baskin, director of the International Communities Organization, a human rights association, has already been involved between 2006 and 2011 in negotiations with the leadership of the terrorist group Hamas for the release of the kidnapped soldier, Gilad Shalit, which occurred in exchange for release of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners. Since the beginning of the conflict he has been in contact with Hamas and on Sky Tg24 he tells how he is trying to persuade the leadership to release the Israeli hostages. Hamas, he explains, has not understood the gravity of its situation and how at the end of this conflict “it will no longer control Gaza” (THE SPECIAL ON THE WAR BETWEEN ISRAEL AND HAMAS – WHAT IS HAMAS – THE CAUSES OF THE CONFLICT – THE HISTORICAL REASONS – WHAT ‘IT’S HEZBOLLAH – WHAT ARE KIBBUTZ).

“Two channels in parallel, one sponsored by Qatar and the other by Egypt”

According to Baskin, “the military is sending a message: ‘our patience is running out, we want all the hostages to be released. We are negotiating with you in good faith, but you keep changing the terms of these negotiations. If you don’t make a deal with we will not have your temporary ceasefire, we will come for you now.’ So this is also a negotiation tactic.” For the director “there are two channels currently in parallel regarding the negotiation. One sponsored by the government of Qatar and the other by the government of Egypt and it is very important to know that the release of the first two women was done through the Qatar and the direct pressure of President Biden and Secretary Blinken. The second was done with Egypt through Al Qassam, the armed wing of Hamas.” Baskin then added that “if I had to bet, well I would put my money on the Egyptian channel and not on the Qatari channel. It is very important to know that Qatar has been supportive of Hamas for many years. It hosted the leadership, they did business worth millions of dollars, they are also partners of Hamas.”

“I am in contact with some Hamas people in Gaza”

Baskin said that “in June 2006 Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by three different groups of Palestinians, Hamas took control of this kidnapping and a week later I received a phone call from a Hamas person with whom I had had a conference at Cairo, anyway, it’s a long story. I spent five years and six months negotiating with Hamas and most of those five years unofficially.” Baskin then revealed that he was “in contact with some Hamas people in Gaza, Beirut and Doha, some have responded to me, not all. I’ve had some very difficult conversations with them, I’m trying to persuade them and put pressure on them to do the thing right, to let go of the women, the children, the elderly, the wounded.” For the director this “is not just an inhuman war crime, it is something that goes against Islam, against what they believe in. In the Koran it says that women, children, the elderly and the sick are not killed. Instead they they killed them, they kidnapped them, therefore going against their beliefs. They must do the right thing.”

“Hamas will not control Gaza at the end of this war”

Also referring to conversations he had with Hamas people, Baskin said he “tried to tell them that they don’t understand how serious this situation is. I had direct conversations with some of them saying ‘you have to recognize that this is your end’. Hamas will not control Gaza at the end of this war.” According to the director, “one conclusion we can reach is that at the end of this war, those who govern Israel and those who govern Palestine will have to go, everyone will have to go. The entire leadership of this part of Palestine will have to be replaced because they are that brought us to where we are.”