Families of Israeli Hostages Taken by Hamas Meeting with Netanyahu
The families of three Israeli hostages taken by the militant Hamas group in Gaza are meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to demand action in securing their release.
Ehud Goldwasser, Eldad Regev, and Gilad Shalit were all taken captive in separate, 2006 cross-border operations conducted by Hamas. Their whereabouts have been unknown and negotiations to secure their release deadlocked since then.
The families met with Netanyahu at his residence in Jerusalem and demanded he take urgent action in bringing their loved ones back home. Goldwasser’s father, Shlomo, accuses Netanyahu of “a total lack of determination” to secure the men’s release.
“We feel abandoned,” said Regev’s father, Effie. “We ask the prime minister to take another look and take a difficult decision.”
Netanyahu listened to the families’ pleas and reiterated that he is committed to doing everything to ensure the three hostages return. He also promised that a request recently submitted to Hamas, asking them to provide proof of life, would be seriously and quickly acted upon.
The families also called upon the international community to do more to secure their loved one’s return.
This meeting has been long-awaited since Netanyahu came into office last year and failed to take any meaningful steps in negotiating with Hamas. This current, desperate meeting between prime minister and families finally demonstrates at least some action.
Still, this does not necessarily mean that a deal is near. Previous attempts in freeing the hostages have been derailed by divisions between Israeli ministers and worries that freeing militants in exchange for hostages could endanger Israeli citizens. However, with a national and international push, there may be some hope in the future for the hostages and their families.