Hamas are playing mind games with the Israeli psyche after releasing hostage video

L-R: Yossi Sharabi, Noa Argamani and Itay Svirsky are featured in the hostage propaganda video. Credit: Israel Hayom

One of the latest propaganda videos put out by Hamas is particularly sickening.

It dwells on the fate of three Israeli hostages and offers viewers three choices: they are all still alive; one or two are still alive; they are all dead.

The terror group says it will reveal 'the truth' tonight. 

However, their revelation should not be trusted as some previous claims about individual hostage deaths have ultimately proved unfounded.

Hamas are playing mind games with the Israeli psyche, fully aware that the hostages are the soft underbelly of Israel’s determination.

The hostages are a painful and ever-present thorn in this country’s side.

Over the weekend, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Tel Aviv to demand that their government do more to bring the captives home.

It’s believed more than 130 are still being held, although more than 20 of them are thought to be dead.

Hamas is trying to pile on the pressure in the hope that the Israeli government will back a long-term ceasefire plan being worked on by Qatar, Egypt and to some extent, the Americans.

A Palestinian child looks at the graves of people killed by Israeli aerial strikes in the Gaza Strip. Credit: AP

It would see all the Israeli hostages freed in return for the IDF’s withdrawal from Gaza; agreement that the Hamas leadership be allowed to flee the Strip and go into exile, and the release of a yet to be determined number of Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails.

Reports here suggest the Israeli war cabinet is split as to the merits of this proposal.

The Prime Minister, Mr Netanyahu, is said to be against it.

He is arguing that military pressure is the best way to free the hostages. That’s debatable, not least because even before today the IDF has killed more captives than it has rescued.

He’s also afraid that agreeing to the plan would let Hamas off the hook.

His often-repeated war aim - the destruction of Hamas - would have to be set aside for the time being at least.

Mr Netanyahu’s problem is that Israel’s progress in Gaza is becoming less tangible and international impatience is growing, not least in Washington DC.

Benjamin Netanyahu is arguing that military pressure is the best way to free the hostages. Credit: AP

Now that the US and UK have got involved militarily, by attacking Israel’s Houthi enemies in Yemen, they now have a bigger say regarding the future.

Mr Netanyahu’s critics argue that another reason he’s opposed to the peace plan is that it will bring about 'the day after'.

It’s probably a day he never wants to dawn because it will herald a reckoning as to who’s to blame for the catastrophic security and intelligence failures that paved the way for October 7.

On this, the 101st day of this war, clarity is in short supply.

The situation is complicated, not least because it involves a big dollop of Israeli politics.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…