“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 attainable for us to stroll right into a battle zone in hostile territory with out permission — to stroll as much as a gaggle of individuals, most definitely holding weapons that they may use, and demand that they allow us to inside. It’s not attainable.”
The Purple Cross has about 130 workers in Gaza, he mentioned, giving it some capacity to ship humanitarian help and to go to the scenes of destruction from the struggle. However even with that entry, assembly with the hostages requires an settlement with Hamas.
Mr. Straziuso mentioned Purple Cross officers had been speaking to Hamas, Israel, the USA and different nations concerning the situation of the hostages.
However these talks have been shrouded in secrecy.
In an announcement on Monday, the Purple Cross mentioned the group is “insisting that our groups be allowed to go to the hostages to examine 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 comply with.”
Separate discussions a couple of attainable launch of some hostages are being carried out by way of intermediaries, with Israel and the USA speaking with Hamas solely by means of messages handed backwards and forwards by negotiators in Egypt and Qatar.
A pacesetter 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 almost definitely 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 a few of the hostages.
Warring nations have blocked the Purple Cross from visiting hostages or prisoners of struggle in earlier conflicts. In 2022, eight months into the struggle between Ukraine and Russia, the Purple Cross nonetheless had little entry to prisoners held by both aspect. In an announcement on the time, the group wrote that “blaming the I.C.R.C. for being denied full and fast entry doesn’t assist prisoners of struggle or their households.”
However the truth that there isn’t a definitive playbook within the case of hostages throughout wartime, no precise timing for reporting about whether or not they’re lifeless or alive leaves the members of the family with little to carry on to as the times slowly move.
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 beneath 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 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 whether or not — they may uncover something definitive about their family members. Ms. Goldberg detailed the grief of a mom who has no concept 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 transferring to Israel, Jon Polin and Rachel Goldberg’s son Hersch attended the identical preschool as my kids 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.