If the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) are seeking to rescue the hostages that Hamas seized last week, they are doing a less than stellar job. It’s a romantic vision for sure: if you blow up every single thing in Gaza except for the hostages, then they’ll be really easy to spot. If you carpet bomb a city, destroying every school, hospital, and terrorist HQ, and then logically the only thing left will be the little Israeli girl that you’ve been searching for, standing tall among a sea of rubble as the smoke clears. But the reality is that there are far better ways to conduct a search than levelling a city with enough explosives to make Elmer Fudd blush, and ways that lead to less collateral damage as well.
Some would say you have to admire the tenacity of the IDF, the scorched earth tactic is certainly a novel approach to finding and extracting citizens unharmed. These children and elderly people who were stolen from their beds by the terrorist group known as Hamas last week, before they could even gather their iPhones/dentures, depending on which demographic they fall into. But whatever side you’re on, it has to be said that, no matter how many medical buildings get cleared out of the way, the IDF are probably looking for them in the wrong places. If you were a terrorist hiding out with a few hostages, the last place you’d take them would be the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital. It’s too crowded for one thing, you’d be spotted right away.
Don’t get me wrong, I can see their logic. “If I was a terrorist who had captured a little child, where would I hide them? The hospital!” It makes a lot of sense. There would be numerous benefits to this from the Hamas perspective: Free medical care for the hostages, saves you having to worry about them dying if you cut off a finger; potentially there may be PlayStations for the child hostages, if they have a good paediatric ward, maybe a bit wishful given that it’s a warzone but those humanitarian aid helicopters have to be dropping something of value; plus a hospital is the one place the IDF would never think to look because they’re usually too busy calling air strikes on it to actually check who’s inside.
It would be hard for them to put it beyond terrorists that they have labelled as ‘animals’ and ‘savages’ that they might stoop so low as to use a hospital as the perfect cover. Just look at all these beleaguered doctors and nurses, rushed off their feet sprinting between beds to provide care to the dying Palestinians. You see that one whose stethoscope technique is slightly unorthodox? That’s cos she’s a Hamas fighter. Yep, that’s right, deep cover. You see that patient whose face is covered in dust? Yeah, the one coughing up blood and crying? You’re not fooling anyone, kiddo. You see that little boy? You get the picture. They thought better to wipe out the entire place just to be sure.
You can’t blame them for trying it, just to make sure. But it’s not been a very effective strategy, all those hospitals bombed and not a single hostage, that is not success in any measurable way. Unless the goal is to terror bomb a civilian population to demonstrate the power you have to enforce your claim to the land and display your apathy towards the lives of the Muslim contingent that live there.
As time ticks by, suspicions begin to rise that Israel is not putting their all into finding these hostages and that they might just be after a vengeful retribution via as many civilian casualties as they can muster. And while opinions may differ on that, you have to say that if they are trying to find Israeli hostages, they’re not doing a great job. Like my old schoolteachers would say, you’ve got to apply yourself. Not to point fingers, no one would expect the men and women of the IDF to have a clear head in a situation like this, but they’re certainly not applying themselves or thinking laterally to figure out where the hostages are. It’s like if they were playing a game of Where’s Wally? and pretended to look for three seconds before scribbling over the whole scene shouting “They all look too similar to Wally!” and ripping the page out of the book. Regardless of the excuses, days continue to go by with no sign of them being any closer to findind these hostages that they’re moving heaven and earth (sometimes literally) to locate. Even Hamas must be running out of patience while they keep the children in their care. You can only be shown so many TikToks of influencers making homemade Big Mac sauce, or whatever kids are into these days, before you start to feel it might have been easier to just assassinate Netanyahu. And I know no one wants that.
So it’s my humble opinion that the IDF ought to reevaluate their strategy, start again from the ground up. Hospitals are officially out. You’ve checked them, sometimes with extreme briskness, no hostages, move onto something more intuitive. Like deserts or caves or wherever Bin Laden was hiding in the end. The kind of places that terrorists usually hang out, you know what I mean. Either that or they can double down, start deploying chemical weapons, and flood the daycare centres with gas, if anyone dies, they must be a terrorist.
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