Families of Hostages Make Pleas as the Ground Siege Advances in Gaza
Recap: This Week
Analysis and Commentary by Hok Man So
Netanyahu Meets With Hostage Families
On October 28, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the families of hostages taken captive by Hamas in the bloody incursion on October 7, the BBC reported. The families have expressed concern for the well-being of their families who still remain within the enclave. Over the weekend, reports detailed how the Israeli counter-incursion began its push into Gaza, following several days of intensive rocket fire on the enclave. As the invasion pressed in, families of the hostages pressed for an “all for all” exchange, The Times of Israel reported.
American Hostages Released Last Week
Hostages have been slowly released from the enclave over the last week. An elderly hostage, Yochevebd Lifschitz,who was released over the last few days, described the experience as “hell” and explained that she was taken into Gaza through a “spider web” of tunnels, the BBC reported.
Two American hostages, Judith Tai Raanan, aged 59, and her daughter Natalie, aged 17, who had been captured by the Hamas group on October 7 , were successfully released and returned to Israel, CNN reported on October 20. This event marked the first confirmed instance of Hamas releasing captives. The handover took place at the Gaza Strip border on a Friday. However, it is important to highlight that despite this positive development, approximately 200 other hostages remain in captivity by the Hamas group.
Abu Ubaida, the spokesperson for Hamas, had previously announced their intention to release two more hostages using the same procedures as those employed for the American hostages. These female detainees, identified as "Nurit" and "Yokhved," were initially said to be released on the following Sunday. However, there was a discrepancy in the accounts given by both sides. Hamas claimed that Israel denied the procedure, while Israel later asserted that this was false and categorized it as propaganda. The authenticity of these claims from both parties remains uncertain.
Meanwhile, China and Russia are in agreement regarding the Palestinian issue and have joined forces to advocate for a peaceful resolution between Israel and Palestine. In a meeting between Zhai Jun, China's special envoy to the Middle East, and Russia's special representative for the Middle East and Africa, Mikhail Bogdanov, both sides pledged to actively contribute to the revival of peace negotiations. Interestingly, despite China’s severe discrimination and surveillance campaigns targeting the Uyghurs, China’s Muslim minority group, China had previously recognized the state of Palestine in 1988.