Biden Hesitant As Hamas Hostage Count Increases To 212

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari announced Sunday the number of hostages being held in Gaza has risen to 212. The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas has resulted in a dire situation for citizens of Gaza who are facing the devastating impact of airstrikes and military attacks.

The hostage crisis in Gaza began after Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel on Oct. 7 and carried out a surprise attack resulting in the deaths of more than 1,400 Israelis.

Initial reports on hostages tallied up to a reported 203 people, not including the two Americans who were released as part of a negotiation last week. The hostages include Israelis and individuals of many other nationalities.

The United States has joined hands with several other countries in an attempt to negotiate the release of these hostages.

Qatar has played a significant role as a mediator, given its close ties to the political leaders of Hamas. Global pressure to release the hostages could lead to their safe release, but the public doesn’t necessarily trust that the government can fairly negotiate with terrorists.

On Oct. 20, Hamas released Judith and Natalie Raanan — two American hostages — on “humanitarian grounds.” The mother and daughter were handed over to the Red Cross in the Gaza Strip and have since returned to Israel. They are expected to return to the U.S. this week.

Ten Americans remain unaccounted for. President Joe Biden has made it clear that rescuing the remaining hostages is of highest priority for the U.S.

Many developed nations have expressed concern over the hostage crisis and the overall situation in Gaza. Several countries have called for a ceasefire and the protection of civilians caught in the crossfire. Biden has been in contact with world leaders, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to discuss mitigation efforts.

The Gaza Health Ministry has reported that at least 4,385 Palestinians have been killed and over 13,561 wounded as a result of the violence. The situation has led to a humanitarian crisis, with limited access to basic necessities like food, water and electricity.

While there is a strong desire to secure the release of the hostages, there are also concerns about the potential consequences of a ground invasion by Israel. The Biden Administration is requesting that Israel hold off on such a move to allow more time for negotiations, humanitarian aid and the protection of civilians.

Concern continues to loom that a ground invasion from Israel could spur retaliation from Iran against the U.S. America remains divided on whether they believe the Biden Admin is truly trying to avoid that.