Pressure mounts on Israel's government to extend ceasefire and rescue more hostages

Yahel Shoham, 3, was recently released by Hamas. Credit: AP

The Law of Return gives people of Jewish ancestry the world over the right to move to Israel and become a citizen.

What we have seen with the hostage homecomings over the last few days is the honouring of the right to be returned. It is one of the cornerstones of the state.

Israel was established to be a safe haven for Jewish people. On the morning of October 7, the state failed to protect its own and more than 200 were taken.

The government has a moral and unavoidable obligation to get them back. Any prime minister here must be seen to do everything possible to make that happen.

People wave flags as a helicopter carrying Israeli hostages flies overhead. Credit: AP

Most of the hostages are not Netanyahu voters.

That has led some of their relatives to accuse the Israeli Prime Minister of not doing enough to secure releases.

Benjamin Netanyahu must decide today whether or not to extend the temporary truce beyond tonight.

There is the possibility that 50 more Israelis could be free by next Saturday. Hamas has agreed that the price of a day’s peace is the release of 10 captives.

The hardliners in the Israeli cabinet want to get back to war. Some were opposed to the halt in the first place.

However, with Hamas rocket attacks on Israel becoming rarer by the day, the primary way the terror group can wage war on ordinary Israelis is by holding hostages.

The hawks say military pressure is what forces hostage releases. The flaw in that argument is that Washington’s tolerance is time-limited. 

If by the time President Biden calls a halt to the offensive and some Israelis are still being held captive, what then?

Mr Biden said last night that he hopes the truce will be extended to allow for more hostage releases and for more aid to go into Gaza.

Mr Netanyahu has a choice - does he side with his hawkish partners and get back to waging war, or does he side with his patron, the US president, and extend the ceasefire?

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