[Make sure to read Daniel Greenfield’s contributions in Jamie Glazov’s new book: Barack Obama’s True Legacy: How He Transformed America.]
There are an estimated 14 American hostages being held in Gaza. (This number may rise or fall as Hamas continues to release videos of the hostages and Israel continues identifying bodies, some of which have been charred beyond recognition, by using DNA samples from family members.) As of this time, there are 20 Americans missing and bodies are being tested.
Biden spoke with some family members on a Zoom call. “It’s my personal commitment to do everything possible, everything possible to return every missing American to their families,” he said, “we’re working around the clock to secure the release of Americans held by Hamas.”
But the Biden administration has currently ruled out sending rescue forces, instead it is using Hamas allies, Qatar and Turkey, to conduct negotiations with the Islamic terrorist organization.
While Israel has refused to trade hostages for terrorists, Biden may be more willing to do so.
Senior Hamas leader Ali Baraka told Russia’s RT propaganda network, “There are also prisoners in the U.S. We want them. Of course. There are Hamas members sentenced for life in the U.S. We want them too. Of course. We demand that the U.S. free our sons from prisons. The U.S. conducts prisoner swaps. Only recently, it did one with Iran. Why wouldn’t it conduct a prisoner swap with us?”
Barakeh went into more specifics about which Hamas members he meant in another interview.
“There are Palestinians held in America. We will ask for their release. There are Palestinians who are detained by the United States on charges of supporting the resistance in Palestine. They were detained in America because they were accused of running charity organizations that support the people besieged in the Gaza.”
This almost certainly refers to the Holy Land Foundation case in which key figures in the largest Islamic charity in America were convicted of helping to send millions to Hamas.
Hamas would have a special interest in at least one of the terror convicts. Mufid Abdulqader, the half brother of Hamas leader Khaled Mashal, who is currently serving out his 20 years in prison sentence in a low security federal prison in Seagoville, Texas. Funding terrorists and a history of chanting terrorist threats apparently netted Abdulqader an easy ride at a low security prison.
Islamists in the United States had lobbied for his release during the pandemic by claiming that the 60-year-old is an “elderly” man facing imminent death at a “virus-ravaged prison”. Abdulqaderf was denied early release, he got COVID, survived it, and he’s set to be out in 2025.
Qatar, acting once again as an intermediary for Islamic terrorists, will be likely to argue that Mufid Abdulqader is only a few years away from being released anyway.
Perhaps the Hamas family member will resume his musical career in which he toured America to sing to Muslim communities cheerful ditties such as, “with Koran and Jihad, we will gain our homes back… the agony of death is precious, killing Jews … Death to Jews, is precious.”.
But it’s another of the Holy Land Foundation terror funders who is far more explosive.
Ghassan Elashi was a founding board member for CAIR in Texas. CAIR’s D.C. office was funded by money from the Holy Land Foundation and the trial led to CAIR being named “an unindicted co-conspirator” in terror funding. It’s a label that the group is still trying to shake off.
But the FBI stated that “evidence was introduced that demonstrated a relationship among CAIR, individual CAIR founders (including its current President Emeritus and Executive Director) and the Palestine Committee. Evidence was also introduced that demonstrated a relationship between the Palestine Committee and Hamas, which was designated as a terrorist organization in 1995.”
CAIR founder and executive director Nihad Awad responded to the Hamas attacks by posting, “a unique Palestinian day. Never say ‘impossible.'” And Awad reacted to Biden’s speech condemning those atrocities by posting, “there is no moral equivalence between the occupied and the occupier. You must condemn the occupier not the occupied.”
Awad had previously stated, “I am in support of the Hamas movement more than the PLO.”
Ghassan Elashi was sentenced to 65 years in prison. At the age of 69, he’s serving out a sentence that would only see him released in 2068.
Senior Hamas leader Ali Baraka mentioned that the Hamas terrorists he wants freed are serving life sentences. While Elashi isn’t technically serving a life sentence, he is currently scheduled to spend the rest of his life at McCreary federal prison in Kentucky (it’s unclear if he’s in the maximum or minimum security part of it) before beginning an even more hellishly extended sentence in a much more secure facility that offers neither parole nor virgins.
Only two of the Holy Land Foundation terror fundraisers received sentences this long making it almost certain that Hamas wants to trade the former CAIR board member for a U.S. hostage.
A Hamas proposal to trade a CAIR leader for a hostage would reopen the question of CAIR’s terror ties again and would be particularly awkward for the Biden administration which welcomed CAIR so enthusiastically that it was assigned to help with security for its antisemitism strategy. Furthermore the statements by the senior Hamas leader that the men it’s trying to extricate are Hamas members would overturn over a decade of lies put out by CAIR and its Islamist allies that the HLF terror fundraisers were innocent victims of ‘Islamophobia’.
Such a request would also establish that a Hamas member had served on a CAIR board.
CAIR had already advocated for Mufid Abdulqader, claiming that the half-brother of a Hamas leader who had called for the murder of Jews was an innocent victim of ‘Islamophobia’. The terrorist fundraiser was seen on video in a skit in which he “plays a Hamas member who kills an Israeli after saying, ‘I am Hamas, O dear ones.’” Good thing he’s in a low security prison.
Other Holy Land Foundation defendants whose release Hamas may demand include Shuri Abu Baker, scheduled to be released from a high security prison in Eastern Texas in 2064, whom CAIR had also defended. Abdulrahman Odeh and Mohammad El-Mezain, who had received shorter sentences, were already released in 2021. This did not stop CAIR from signing on to a petition next year to have them set loose even though they were already out of prison.
If Hamas were to request the release of Abdulqader, Abu Baker and Elashi, it would put the Islamist terror group enlist in the same effort as not only CAIR, but other pro-terrorist organizations that signed the petition like Human Rights Watch, the National Lawyers Guild, Jewish Voice for Peace, ICNA and the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network which has been designated as a terrorist organization by Israel. Individual signatories include Ramzi Kassem, a Gitmo terror lawyer who once threw stones at Israel, and was named by the Biden administration as a Senior Policy Advisor for Immigration at the White House Domestic Policy Council.
By holding Americans hostage, Hamas has more leverage to free its members than the Muslim Brotherhood front groups that operate by pretending to be civil rights organizations.
Will Biden make such a trade? After making similar deals with Russia and Iran, it seems possible. But with Iran, Biden could argue that he wasn’t directly negotiating with terrorists, there is no such argument when it comes to Hamas. We will be negotiating with terrorists.
Trading for hostages creates a market in them. Biden’s deal with Iran encouraged Hamas to take Americans hostage and try to trade for them. And the more hostages we trade for, the more hostages Islamic terrorists will launch attacks to try to take.