A former US Marine Corps Intelligence Officer, Scott Ritter, has described the truce between Hamas and Israel as a blessing for Palestinians and Israelis alike which will allow the exchange of prisoners, the entry of humanitarian aid and a period of calm.
“The ceasefire, which was negotiated between Israel and Hamas and mediated by Qatar, was mutually agreed upon by the two parties, and no one should be deceived into thinking that this was anything but a victory for Hamas,” Ritter said.
He explained that Israel has agreed to the pause despite its earlier very aggressive position and declared goal of “destroying Hamas as an organisation”, and “refusing to agree to a ceasefire under any circumstances.” He added that Israel agreed to the temporary pause because it’s being pressured, “because they are not winning.”
“On the other hand, Hamas announced that one of its primary goals, since the start of the current round of fighting with Israel, is releasing Palestinian prisoners, especially women and children, held by Israel,” he said, adding that in light of this, “the pause represents an important victory for Hamas, and a humiliating defeat for Israel.”
He added that Israel’s signing of the pause constitutes the surest indicator so far that things are not well with regard to its attack on Hamas.
Ritter pointed out that this result should not be a surprise to anyone because when Hamas launched its attack on Israel on 7 October it began implementing a plan that had been in preparation for years.
“The meticulous attention to detail, which was evident in the Hamas operation, underscored the fact that the movement has been studying the Israeli intelligence and military forces arrayed against it, and revealing their weaknesses that were later exploited,” he added.
Commenting on Israel’s tactic on 7 December, Ritter said: “Israel did not ever want to be in this position, that’s why they adopted something called the Hannibal Directive, which basically tells the Israeli Defence Force to kill soldiers that have been captured by Hamas or Hezbollah, so they can’t be used as leverage.”
“The Hannibal Directive has led to the death of several hostages currently held by Hamas. It was behind some of the deaths, many of the deaths, some people would say the majority of the deaths that were suffered on October 7.”