“We share the frustration. We perceive the ache,” mentioned Jason Straziuso, a spokesman for the Purple Cross. “We’re not bulletproof, and it’s not doable for us to stroll right into a battle zone in hostile territory with out permission — to stroll as much as a bunch of individuals, most definitely holding weapons that they’ll use, and demand that they allow us to inside. It’s not doable.”
The Purple Cross has about 130 workers in Gaza, he mentioned, giving it some means to ship humanitarian assist and to go to the scenes of destruction from the battle. However even with that entry, assembly with the hostages requires an settlement with Hamas.
However these talks have been shrouded in secrecy.
In a press release on Monday, the Purple Cross mentioned the group is “insisting that our groups be allowed to go to the hostages to test on their welfare,” however added that “the I.C.R.C. doesn’t participate in negotiations resulting in the discharge of hostages. As a impartial humanitarian middleman, we stay able to facilitate any future launch that the events to the battle conform to.”
Separate discussions a few doable launch of some hostages are being carried out by way of intermediaries, with Israel and the US speaking with Hamas solely by the use of messages handed backwards and forwards by negotiators in Egypt and Qatar.
A frontrunner of Hamas mentioned in October that not the entire Israeli hostages who had been taken to Gaza had been being held by the group, a declare that most certainly complicates negotiations for his or her launch. Osama Hamdan, a member of Hamas’s political bureau in Lebanon, mentioned different teams, together with Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a separate group that’s an ally of Hamas, had been additionally holding among the hostages.
In late October, Israeli forces rescued one hostage, and 4 others had been launched by Hamas a few week earlier. However there have been no additional breakthroughs.
Warring nations have blocked the Purple Cross from visiting hostages or prisoners of battle in earlier conflicts. In 2022, eight months into the battle between Ukraine and russia, the Purple Cross nonetheless had little entry to prisoners held by both aspect. In a press release on the time, the group wrote that “blaming the I.C.R.C. for being denied full and quick entry doesn’t assist prisoners of battle or their households.”
However the truth that there isn’t a definitive playbook within the case of hostages throughout wartime, no actual timing for reporting about whether or not they’re lifeless or alive leaves the relations with little to carry on to as the times slowly go.
Liz Hirsh Naftali, the great-aunt of Abigail Idan, recounted on NBC Information how the 3-year-old Abigail watched on Oct. 7 as Hamas fighters shot and killed her mom and ran together with her father and two siblings.
“Abigail was in her father’s arms,” Ms. Naftali mentioned on “NBC Nightly Information” with Lester Holt. “And as they ran, a terrorist shot him and killed him, and he fell onto Abigail.”
She added, “We realized that Abigail really had crawled out from below her father’s physique and, filled with his blood, went to a neighbor, they usually took her in.”
Hamas later seized the neighbor, her three youngsters and Abigail, Ms. Naftali mentioned.
Rachel Goldberg, who’s married to Mr. Polin, and different relations have mentioned they don’t know when — or whether or not — they’ll uncover something definitive about their family members. Ms. Goldberg detailed the grief of a mom who has no thought if her son is alive “or in case you died yesterday, or in case you died 5 minutes in the past.”
(In 2004, earlier than shifting to Israel, Jon Polin and Rachel Goldberg’s son Hersch attended the identical preschool as my youngsters in Richmond, Va.)
Inside Israel, the place the faces of the hostages are plastered all over the place on posters that proclaim them “KIDNAPPED,” activists have mounted an aggressive marketing campaign to demand swifter motion from the Purple Cross.