Hamas Hostage Ultimatum: Israel’s Warning Shot

Israel issued an ultimatum that could have significant implications for the Gaza war: either release the hostages or spend Ramadan avoiding Israeli rockets. Israel Defense Forces are currently working to free hostages who were taken by Hamas during its surprise attack against Israel on October 7.

Benny Gantz was a member of Israel’s war cabinet and issued the ultimatum on Sunday.

Gantz stated that “the world and Hamas leaders should know” that if our hostages were not returned by Ramadan, fighting would continue in all areas, including Rafah.

Ramadan, the holy Muslim month, begins on 10 March this year.

The former IDF chief of the staff and Defense Minister told the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations that they were meeting in Jerusalem, “We will do this in a coordinated way, facilitating the evacuation of civilians and in dialogue with both our American and Egyptian partner to minimize civilian deaths.”

He said: “To those who say the price [of the offensive] is too expensive, I make it very clear that Hamas can choose to surrender, free the hostages and allow the Gazans to celebrate Ramadan.”


Gantz made his declaration at a conference held in Jerusalem, where several influential Jewish groups from America were present. Rafah was one of Hamas’s last strongholds as it tried its best to resist Israel’s assault.

Biden Administration, together with other world leaders, warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to proceed with the offensive unless he had a “credible plan that can be implemented” to protect civilians. The prime minister, however, has rejected those who tried to convince him to be more lenient with the terrorist group.

Rafah is located on the Gaza-Egypt Border and is the last Hamas stronghold. However, it is also the place where more than a million Palestinians who have been displaced from other areas of fighting sought refuge.

US President Joe Biden warned Netanyahu against a military invasion without “a credible and executable” plan to ensure the safety and support of the civilian population of the city. Many of Israel’s Western Allies have issued similar warnings.

Netanyahu said that such a plan was in the works. He also declared on Sunday, “Those who want to stop us from operating in Rafah tell us: “Lose this war.”

The international community watches Israel as it prepares for a larger conflict. The IDF may also be forced to deal with Hezbollah in Lebanon, a terrorist group backed by Iran. The IDF and the group have already engaged in numerous skirmishes along the border between Israel and Lebanon.

Hamas faces some tough decisions as Ramadan approaches. Israel appears to be tired of waiting on a prisoner/hostage exchange agreement. The terrorist group could buy more time if it agrees to release the remaining hostages. Israel’s leadership, however, has repeatedly stated that it will not accept anything less than the destruction of Hamas. Israel is also in a difficult situation, as they want to free the hostages. The next few weeks are sure to be filled with interesting developments.