B’Tselem: Hamas must release all captives immediately;Israeli government must advance deal to release them
In the Saturday attack, Hamas militants kidnapped more than 150 people from Israeli territory – including babies, children, women and the elderly. Since then, Hamas has been holding them in violation of basic moral and human rules and in flagrant violation of international law, with no indication of any intention to let them go.
Hamas must immediately release all the captives and allow them to return to their homes and families. Under no circumstances may civilians be used as bargaining chips. Until then, Hamas must state who has been kidnapped and ensure they are being held in a safe place with adequate conditions, are being provided sufficient food and water, and are receiving necessary medical treatment.
Although Israel is capable of advancing their release, it is failing in this respect, too. Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, said on CNN: “Of course we want to see all of our boys, girls, grandmothers, everyone who was abducted, back home. But right now, our focus, looking at our national strategy, is to obliterate Hamas’ terrorist capabilities.” This raises serious concern that Israel has no intention of working towards a deal and is willing to abandon the captives to their fate.
B’Tselem calls on the international community to use every means at its disposal to urge the Israeli government and Hamas to forge a deal for releasing the captives.