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NYT columnist proposes ending Gaza war with ‘free pass for all of the Hamas leadership’ to leave country

New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman suggested an end to the war in Gaza during an appearance on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, one where terrorist leaders of Hamas should be allowed to leave peacefully.

On Oct. 7, Hamas launched a multi-pronged terror attack on Israeli army bases, civilian communities and a music festival that led to at least 1,200 deaths and 240 kidnappings. This attack and the Israeli military response that followed sent geopolitical shockwaves around the world from protests to hunger strikes as the war leads to more casualties. 

Friedman said much of the conversation about the war Israeli-Palestinian war in Gaza ranges from “are you for the cease-fire or not for the cease-fire,” but expressed hope that “in the next few days, that really morphs into a different discussion,” being rather “’Are you for an end to this?’ Not just a cease-fire. I think we really need to be talking about a conclusion.”

He then proposed one scenario where Israel has some measure of amnesty for the terrorist leaders.

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“Maybe Israel says ‘Look, here is a free pass for all of the Hamas leadership. Go to Turkey, go to Qatar, whoever wants to leave, turn in your weapons, return the hostages, we will give the Palestinian prisoners a release,’” Friedman proposed.

“I think we have to really get out of this ‘cease-fire or no cease fire,’ and think about something that gets Hamas leadership out there, puts in a new Palestinian leadership, and partnership with Arab countries, and gets reconstruction going in the world bank,” he said. “I just cannot imagine this going on for more months. And I can’t imagine the United States and President Biden being able to tolerate that politically.”

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Cooper asked, “Why would Hamas’s leadership agree to that? I mean, a lot of them are held up in nice hotels in Doha, and even the ones in Gaza, I mean they are the ones who perpetrated this terror attack on October 7th. What’s in it for them in that, beyond their personal survival?”

Friedman suggested they would be motivated by the “survival of so many people in Gaza,” but hedged his statement by arguing, “We know that they don’t really care about them, they never would have started this war.”

Friedman suggested the mindset of Hamas leadership is that they, by initiating the attack in October, have brought so much destruction to their people but have little to show for it.  

He added that one way for Hamas leadership to feel they had accomplished something would be a “giant release of all 6000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails for the hostages, a kind of all for all, at least they would have something to show for that terrible destruction that they have invited on their populations.”

Read the full article here

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