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Bring them home now: Hamas video highlights urgency of hostage talks – editorial

Israel’s war cabinet instructed its negotiating team to continue efforts to reach a hostage release deal after a four-hour meeting on Wednesday night, the Prime Minister’s Office announced.

After more than 230 days since October 7, every effort must be made to secure the release of the hostages still being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The decision to resume the negotiations came after the Hostages and Missing Families Forum released a graphic three-minute video on Wednesday of the abduction of five tatzpitaniyot (female IDF observers monitoring the border) from the Nahal Oz base near the Gaza border by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023.

  • The video was filmed by body cameras worn by the terrorists as they ruthlessly kidnapped Liri Albag, 18; Karina Ariev, 19; Agam Berger, 19; Daniella Gilboa, 19; and Naama Levy, 19, all five of whom are still being held captive in Gaza.

It shows the female soldiers, some in pajamas, lined up against a wall, bruised and bloodied, with their hands bound, while the terrorists scream at them and bundle them into a jeep.

  • “Every new testimony about what happened to the hostages echoes the same tragic truth – we must bring them all back home, now,” the forum said in a press release, urging TV stations to broadcast the video. Even though the most disturbing parts were cut out, the footage is harrowing and horrific.

Herzog condemns hostage atrocities

President Isaac Herzog urged the world to look at what he called “this cruel atrocity,” calling on all those who care about women’s rights and who believe in freedom to speak out and do everything possible to bring all of the hostages home now.

  • “Five young women being dragged away by monstrous Hamas terrorists. This video shows the harrowing moments on October 7 when five young female soldiers from a lookout post protecting towns and kibbutzim in southern Israel were beaten, threatened with rape, and brutally taken hostage by Hamas terrorists from Gaza,” Herzog said.
  • “The brave families have released the video, and we continue to offer them all our strength and love. Liri, Karina, Agam, Daniella, and Naama are all still in Hamas captivity, and we are fighting to bring them home as well as all other hostages – 128 in total!”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was “shocked” by the video and pledged to do everything possible to bring the hostages home.

  • “The brutality of the Hamas terrorists only strengthens my determination to fight with all my strength until the elimination of Hamas, to ensure that what we saw tonight will never happen again,” he posted on X.
  • Government spokesperson David Mencer told reporters: “These girls are still in the captivity of Hamas. Please don’t look away. Watch the film. Support Israel in bringing our people home.”
  • War cabinet minister Benny Gantz said that while the video had made his stomach turn, “the responsibility of leaders is not only to look reality in the eye; it is to create a different reality even when it comes to difficult decisions.”
  • Naama Levy’s brother, Amit, on a visit to London to campaign for his sister’s release, told the BBC that indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas to secure a hostage release deal were in “a very bad place. We hope this video will encourage all sides to get back to the table and understand that an unbearable humanitarian issue must be solved. This might be the last chance to save them.”
  • Naama’s mother, Ayelet Levy Shachar, told CNN that the video should be seen by everyone. “Ministers and members of the government were asked to watch a version of this video in their meetings, and some of them refused and said we want to sleep OK at night,” she said. “So if this is the reaction when it’s their duty to watch these materials – this is their job, so they can make correct decisions – then we think that we should put it out there for our citizens, for the world to see.”

According to Walla, the war cabinet unanimously approved new guidelines for Israeli negotiators to revive the talks on a hostage deal with Hamas. An Egyptian source told the Qatari-owned Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that Egyptian officials had begun attempts to renew the negotiations.

  • “As the saying goes, no stone must be left unturned this time: Bring them home now!”

Source: JPost