Families of Hostages Seized by Hamas Demand Answers

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More than 220 hostages seized by Hamas have left their families demanding answers from the Israeli government. Many fear that a military onslaught on the Gaza Strip is putting the captives’ lives at risk. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu broke off from war planning for a hastily arranged meeting with hostage families after they had threatened to start street protests to highlight their desperation. Netanyahu made no commitment to any deal, but he told the families “we will exhaust every possibility to bring them home,” adding that finding the hostages was an “integral part” of the military operation.

Hamas Demands Release of Palestinian Prisoners

As the meeting went ahead, a Hamas spokesman said Israel would have to release all Palestinian prisoners from its jails to secure freedom for the hostages. Netanyahu made no commitment to any deal, but Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said Hamas had to be forced to the negotiating table. Gallant added that it was “very complex” and that “the more military pressure, the more firepower and the more we strike Hamas –- the greater our chances are to bring it to a place where it will agree to a solution that will allow the return of your loved ones.”

Families Increasingly Angry Over the Fate of the Hostages

Families are increasingly angry over the “absolute uncertainty” they face over the fate of the hostages, particularly in the heavy bombings. Hundreds of relatives of the Israeli hostages held a rally in Tel Aviv on Saturday, threatening to hold street protests if a government minister did not meet them the same day. The families are divided over what action to take. Some believe a tough line on Hamas is justified, others say a deal should be made.

Violent Nights of the War

The Tel Aviv rally followed one of the most violent nights of the war with the military hammering Gaza with raids that it said targeted tunnels and underground bunkers. The Forum said in a statement, “None of the war cabinet bothered to meet with the families to explain one thing: whether the ground operation endangers the wellbeing of the 229 hostages…The families are worried about the fate of their loved ones and are waiting for an explanation. Every minute feels like an eternity.”

SOURCE: Ref Image from 8 News NOW

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