US National Security Advisor: ‘The ball is in Hamas’ court’

If Hamas doesn’t release more hostages, ‘they are the ones choosing to bring an end to the pause in fighting, not Israel.’

By World Israel News Staff

During a Sunday morning appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said he’d like to see more hostages released past the 4-day ceasefire, but emphasized, “The ball is in Hamas’ court.”

When asked if the US would like to see the humanitarian pause continue past the initial four days, Sullivan replied, “We’d like to see that happen. That’s up to Hamas.”

He continued, “Hamas is going to make the decision whether they’re prepared to release another ten hostages. Israel has put its cards on the table. Israel is prepared to extend the pause in fighting. So the ball is in Hamas’ court.”

Sullivan seemed to put the responsibility for continued fighting squarely on Hamas, as he explained, “Will Hamas step up and release an additional ten hostages? If they don’t, they are the ones choosing to bring an end to the pause in fighting, not Israel, and that is something we will watch very carefully.”

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Sullivan discussed the American hostages still being held in Gaza, including a girl Abigail who turned 4 years old while in captivity and lost her parents in the October 7th massacre.

Although Sullivan said he expected to hear information about the hostages from The Red Cross, he admitted, “We do not know the exact number of hostages who are alive at this time being held in Gaza.”

He added, “We won’t know (if the hostages are alive) until those people are in the hands of the authorities and also in the hands of their loved ones.”

The National Security Advisor emphasized again the high priority of releasing the hostages, “Every day hostages come home is a good day and we’d like to see as many days as possible that is happening until every one of the hostages is home.”

However, he acknowledged the advantage the pause in fighting may give to Hamas, “It does give Hamas a chance to retool and there’s no denying that and that’s the hard trade-off Israel made in accepting this deal.”

When asked if he’d like to see the fighting stop entirely after the hostages are returned, Sullivan was assertive in supporting Israel’s right to dismantle Hamas.

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“We have been clear from the beginning of this conflict that Israel has the right to defend itself against an active terrorist threat.”

He added, “Let’s not forget what Israel continues to face, an implacable foe bent on the destruction of the State of Israel.”