(ConservativeFreePress.com) – The families of American hostages taken by Hamas have issued a dire warning as time is running short for their loved ones’ safe return. This situation has grown more critical with the expiration of a fragile truce between Israel and Hamas, which previously resulted in the release of over 80 people.
Three parents of young dual citizens serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have appealed to Congress to intensify pressure on the Israeli government, the international community, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). They emphasize the urgency of prioritizing the release of the hostages in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Ruby Chen, father of 19-year-old Itay Chen held by Hamas, expressed the urgency of the situation, stressing the need for focused efforts on securing the hostages’ release. He pointed out that dealing with Hamas should come secondary to this priority.
The path to negotiations for the release of these men and Israeli soldiers remains uncertain, with their American citizenship potentially influencing the terms of their release. To date, four out of ten Americans tracked by the administration have been freed by Hamas.
Since November 24, more than 80 hostages, primarily women and children, have been released back to Israel following intensive negotiations involving the U.S., Israel, Egypt, Qatar, and Hamas.
The terms of the deal included a temporary halt in hostilities, the release of 50 hostages over four days, the freeing of 150 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, and increased humanitarian aid to Gaza. Each release of 10 hostages extended the cease-fire by a day, with more Palestinian prisoners identified for release.
Despite international calls for a long-term cease-fire, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to continue the war until Hamas is defeated. President Biden has not supported calls for a general cease-fire, warning that prolonged war could play into Hamas’s hands.
The conditions of the hostages’ captivity are becoming known, with reports of them being kept in near darkness, underfed, and deprived of basic hygiene. Some hostages, including children, were exposed to traumatic experiences.
Hamas initially prioritized the release of children, women, and foreign nationals, including South Asian workers in Israel and an Israeli man with dual Russian citizenship. The Palestinian prisoners released by Israel included women and teenagers.
There are concerns that Hamas may demand higher concessions from Israel for the release of Israeli men and soldiers, reminiscent of the 2006 Gilad Shalit kidnapping that resulted in the release of over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.
The American parents have highlighted the ICRC’s role and criticized its discretion in this situation. They emphasize the need for the ICRC to be vocal about the conditions in which the hostages are kept.
Ronen and Orna Neutra, parents of 22-year-old Omer Neutra held by Hamas, and Yael Alexander, mother of 19-year-old soldier Eden, shared their distress over the unknown status of their sons. Liz Naftali-Hirsch, whose 4-year-old great-niece was released, also expressed concern, especially for female soldiers, amid reports of sexual violence inflicted by Hamas.
At a congressional roundtable, both Republican and Democratic members expressed unified support for President Biden’s efforts to secure the hostages’ release, following a nearly unanimous House vote calling for their freedom.
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