Thursday, April 11, 2024

April 11, 2024: Most of the Hostages Are Dead, U.S. and Israel Say

Mainstream reporting is catching up to The Scroll’s speculations. In our March 25 edition, Tablet’s geopolitical analyst wrote:

My guess is that most or all of the hostages are dead and their bodies are buried deep in tunnels—which is why these “negotiations” don’t and can’t go anywhere. The reason the hostages are dead is that moving them around became a clear strategic liability, while their gruesome accounts of torture and rape at the hands of their captors would only further inflame Israeli and perhaps world opinion against Hamas. The eventual report of their deaths will be merely a “drop in the bucket” next to the “tens of thousands of dead Gazans.” 

The Israelis are obviously constrained from saying this because it is speculative—and giving Hamas an excuse to kill any surviving hostages would be morally questionable and politically explosive, which obligates them to go through the motions. On the other hand, assuming an 80% or higher probability that some version of this scenario is right, which only grows over time, “the fate of the hostages” is no longer sufficient to constrain Israeli action.

Following reports from earlier this week that Hamas could not produce 40 living hostages as part of a deal, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday:

Around 130 remaining hostages taken in the attack are still in Gaza. Of those, Israeli officials have publicly confirmed that 34 are dead, but Israeli and American officials estimate privately that the number of deaths could be much higher. ...

Some U.S. estimates indicate that most of the hostages are already dead, U.S. officials familiar with the intelligence said. They stressed, however, that U.S. visibility on the hostages is limited and depends, in part, on Israeli intelligence. Some were likely killed during Israeli strikes on Gaza, the officials said, while others have died from health issues, including injuries suffered during their initial capture.


Puts Hamas's "negotiations" in a different light.

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