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Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Israeli Families of Hostages Push for Quick End to Conflict


Sat 01 Jun 2024 | 10:33 PM
By Ahmad El-Assasy

Families of Israeli hostages held by Hamas are calling for an immediate acceptance of a proposal by U.S. President Joe Biden aimed at ending the nearly eight-month-long war and bringing their relatives home. However, the Israeli government has stated that certain conditions must still be met to achieve a ceasefire.

On Friday, Biden outlined a three-stage agreement proposed by Israel to Hamas, stating that the militant group "is no longer capable" of launching another large-scale attack on Israel. He urged both Israelis and Hamas to reach an agreement to release about 100 remaining hostages, along with the bodies of about 30 others, to facilitate an extended ceasefire.

Ceasefire talks stalled last month despite significant efforts by the United States and other mediators to reach an agreement, in hopes of avoiding a full Israeli invasion of Rafah in southern Gaza. Israel asserts that the Rafah operation is crucial for rooting out Hamas fighters responsible for the October 7 attack on southern Israel, which triggered the war.

On Friday, Israel confirmed that its forces were operating in the central parts of the city. The ground attack led to the displacement of nearly a million Palestinians from the city and disrupted humanitarian operations coordinated by the United Nations in the area.

After Biden's speech, hostage families stated on Saturday that time was running out, and it is the responsibility of both Israel and Hamas to accept the deal. "We want to see people returning alive and soon from Gaza," said Gili Roman to the Associated Press. His sister, Yarden Roman Gat, was held hostage and released during a week-long ceasefire in November, but Yarden's sister-in-law, Carmel, remains detained.

"This may be the last chance to save lives. Therefore, the current situation must change, and we expect everyone to immediately commit to Biden's call to accept the deal on the table. There is no other way to achieve a better situation for everyone. Our leadership must not let us down. But mostly, all eyes should be on Hamas," added Roman.

This proposal followed what the families described as a confrontational meeting on Thursday with Israeli National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi, who informed them that the government was not prepared to sign an agreement to bring all hostages home and that there was no alternative plan.

Hanegbi stated this week that he expects the war to continue for another seven months in order to destroy Hamas's military and governance capabilities, along with those of the smaller Islamic Jihad movement.