(DCWatchdog.com) – Gershon Baskin, known for his instrumental role in a 2011 prisoner swap that led to the release of an Israeli soldier held by the terrorist group Hamas, strongly appealed for urgent action concerning hostages taken during the Oct. 7 terror attack.
Speaking on “FOX & Friends,” he emphasized that once the Israeli ground incursion begins, the chance to safely retrieve hostages, especially vulnerable groups like women, children, and older people, would diminish.
During his visit to Israel, Joe Biden highlighted the priority of ensuring the safe return of all hostages taken by Hamas. He also announced plans to request a significant support package for Israel’s defense from the U.S. Congress. This includes keeping the Iron Dome system well-equipped and deploying U.S. military assets, such as the USS Ford Carrier Strike Group, to the region. This move is intended to deter further aggression against Israel and prevent the conflict from escalating.
Biden addressed the anxious families awaiting news about their loved ones, reassuring them of the U.S.’s commitment to bringing the hostages home. He said, “To those who are living in limbo, waiting desperately to learn the fate of a loved one, especially to families of the hostages — you’re not alone.”
Baskin proposed the possibility of a small negotiated deal with Hamas, where Israel would release some prisoners in exchange for hostages. However, he specified that these prisoners would mainly be from the West Bank, excluding those from Gaza or those convicted of killing Israelis.
Additionally, Baskin pointed out potential diplomatic avenues to facilitate the hostages’ release. He suggested that pressure could be applied on Qatar, where some Hamas leaders reside, to persuade the group to release hostages. He also mentioned Turkey, a NATO member, suggesting that the U.S. and its NATO allies could influence Turkey to push Hamas towards releasing the prisoners.
Gershon Baskin has a history of involvement in harsh negotiations. He co-founded the Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information. He played a crucial role in the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held captive by Hamas for over five years.