CEP STATEMENT ON THE HAMAS HOSTAGE RELEASE AGREEMENT

(New York, N.Y.)Today, Counter Extremism Project (CEP) Chief Executive Officer Ambassador Mark D. Wallace and CEP President Frances F. Townsend released the following statement after the announcement of an agreement to release 50 hostages.

“The hostage return playing out over the following days will continue to highlight the brutal horrors inflicted by Hamas. October 7 was the worst act of violence against Jews since the Holocaust, and the decision to split up families will invoke yet more painful parallels.

We stand united with the victims and with the surviving families of hostages as they rejoice in the return of their loved ones. Yet this is not a day of celebration, and we demand the return of the approximately 190 other hostages kidnapped by Hamas.

Hamas must be held fully to account for the heinous barbarity of October 7. Hamas’ sponsors, the Al-Thani family, Qatar, and the Islamic Republic of Iran, should likewise be fully held to account. Without the Al-Thani’s money and harboring, and without Iran’s financing and military support, Hamas would not have been able to perpetrate the monstrous events of October 7.

Undoubtedly, the smiling Emir of Qatar will make the rounds of news outlets claiming credit for the hostages’ release, aided by his cadre of lobbyists, lawyers, and PR agents. No amount of Qatar’s hydrocarbon-funded propaganda should wash away the blood that stains the hands of the Al-Thanis and their signature investments and assets around the world: the Washington Wizards, Paris Saint Germain, Canary Wharf, CityCenterDC, The Connaught Hotel, Harrods, among hundreds of others.

For years, despite repeated calls to end their support for extremism, the Al-Thanis have hosted Hamas, funded Hamas, and provided the base for Islamic extremists. The Al-Thanis and Qatar must immediately detain and remand Ismael Haniyeh, Khaled Meshal and the Hamas Politburo into U.S. or Israeli custody, ensure the immediate return of all hostages, and end their support for Hamas and other extremist groups.

While we rejoice in the hoped-for return of Americans, including children whose parents were murdered in front of their eyes, the United States must not rely on hostage exchanges, payments, and facilitating negotiations with terrorists. Unless the United States reestablishes and sends a clear message of deterrence through targeted military action, the United States and its allies will continue to be the focus of such attacks by Hamas and the panoply of other Iran-sponsored terrorist partners and proxies. Hostage negotiations and ransom payments in the absence of deterring future attacks is a failed policy that guarantees that we will be mourning with other families after future terrorist attacks.”

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Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

Fact:

On February 26, 2015, a Boko Haram suicide bomber detonated his explosives near a market in Biu, Nigeria, killing 19 people and injuring 20 others. A second attempted-suicide bomber was caught and beaten by a crowd before he was able to carry out his attack.

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