“We share the frustration. We perceive the ache,” mentioned Crimson Cross spokesman Jason Straziuso. “We’re not bulletproof, and it’s not attainable for us to stroll right into a battle zone in hostile territory with out permission – to stroll as much as a bunch of individuals, who’re actually holding weapons that they are going to use, and demand that they allow us to in. . It is unattainable.”
The Crimson Cross has about 130 employees in Gaza, he mentioned, giving it some capacity to supply humanitarian help and go to the websites of warfare destruction. However even with that entry, assembly the hostages requires an settlement with Hamas.
Mr. Straziuso mentioned Crimson Cross officers spoke with Hamas, Israel, the USA and different nations in regards to the plight of the hostages.
However these conversations are shrouded in secrecy.
In an announcement on Monday, the Crimson Cross mentioned the group “insists that our groups be allowed to go to the hostages to verify on their well-being,” however added that “the ICRC doesn’t take part in negotiations resulting in the discharge of hostages. As a impartial humanitarian middleman, we stay able to facilitate any future launch agreed by the events to the battle.”
Separate discussions a few attainable launch of some hostages are being carried out by intermediaries, with Israel and the USA speaking with Hamas solely by messages handed backwards and forwards by negotiators in Egypt and Qatar.
A Hamas chief mentioned in October that not all Israeli hostages delivered to Gaza have been being held by the group, an assertion prone to complicate negotiations over their launch. Osama Hamdan, a member of Hamas’s political bureau in Lebanon, mentioned different teams, together with Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a separate group allied with Hamas, have been additionally holding some hostages.
In late October, Israeli forces rescued one hostage, and 4 others have been launched by Hamas a few week earlier. However there have been no additional breakthroughs.
Warring nations have prevented the Crimson Cross from visiting hostages or prisoners of warfare in earlier conflicts. In 2022, eight months into the warfare between Ukraine and Russia, the Crimson Cross nonetheless had little entry to prisoners from both aspect. In an announcement on the time, the group wrote that “blaming the ICRC for the denial of full and speedy entry doesn’t assist prisoners of warfare or their households.”
However the absence of a definitive playbook within the case of wartime hostages, and no exact timing for reporting on whether or not they’re useless or alive, leaves members of the family with little steerage as the times slowly cross.
Liz Hirsh Naftali, Abigail Idan’s great-aunt, instructed NBC Information how three-year-old Abigail watched on October 7 as Hamas fighters shot and killed her mom and fled together with her father and two siblings.
“Abigail was in her father’s arms,” Mrs. Naftali mentioned on “NBC Nightly Information” with Lester Holt. “And as they ran, a terrorist shot and killed him, and he fell on Abigail.”
She added: ‘We came upon that Abigail had really crawled out from below her father’s physique and gone to a neighbor filled with his blood, and so they took her in.’
Hamas later seized the neighbor, her three kids and Abigail, Ms. Naftali mentioned.
Rachel Goldberg, who’s married to Mr. Polin, and different members of the family have mentioned they do not know when — or if — they are going to discover out something definitive about their family members. Ms. Goldberg described the grief of a mom who has no thought whether or not her son is alive “or should you died yesterday, or should you died 5 minutes in the past.”
(In 2004, earlier than transferring to Israel, Hersch, the son of Jon Polin and Rachel Goldberg, attended the identical preschool as my kids in Richmond, Virginia.)
In Israel, the place the hostages’ faces are plastered throughout posters declaring them “KIDNAPPED,” activists have mounted an aggressive marketing campaign to demand sooner motion from the Crimson Cross.