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Biden, Blinken mark hostages’ 100th day in Gaza

"No one should have to endure even one day of what they have gone through, much less 100," said Biden, vowing the U.S. will not cease its efforts to secure the hostages' release.

U.S. President Joe Biden on the South Lawn of the White House on June 22, 2023. Credit: Muhammad Aamir Sumsum/Shutterstock.
U.S. President Joe Biden on the South Lawn of the White House on June 22, 2023. Credit: Muhammad Aamir Sumsum/Shutterstock.

U.S. President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken released statements on Sunday marking the 100th day in captivity of the hostages taken by the Hamas terrorist organization on Oct. 7.

“Today, we mark a devastating and tragic milestone—100 days of captivity for the more than 100 innocent people, including as many as six Americans, who are still held being hostage by Hamas in Gaza,” Biden stated.

In a much-shorter statement, Blinken noted the sad milestone of 100 days of captivity for “more than 130 people, including six Americans, who were taken hostage by Hamas during its brutal attack on Israel on Oct. 7.”

Hamas kidnapped some 240 people—overwhelmingly Israeli Jews—during its assault on southern Israel on Oct. 7. The terrorist group is believed to still be holding 136 hostages in Gaza, although dozens are thought to be dead.

Both Biden’s and Blinken’s statements had harsh words for Hamas, but downplayed the hostages’ Jewish identities, even as Jew-hatred has soared worldwide following Hamas’s antisemitic attack.

The president—whose administration has drawn criticism for universalizing antisemitism and suggesting Islamophobia must play chaperone to it—noted in his statement ostensibly about Jewish hostages that Washington had surged “vital humanitarian aid” to Gazans.

“For 100 days, they have existed in fear for their lives, not knowing what tomorrow will bring,” Biden said of the hostages. “For 100 days, their families have lived in agony, praying for the safe return of their loved ones.”

The president, whose patience for Israel’s war of self-defense against Hamas is reportedly “running out,” noted that Washington—in “close coordination with Qatar, Egypt and Israel”—brokered in November a seven-day “pause” in the fighting, during which 110 hostages were released, including a 4-year-old child.

“I was deeply engaged to secure, sustain and extend that deal. Sadly, Hamas walked away after just one week,” Biden said. “But the United States and our partners have not given up.” He noted that Blinken was in the region last week “seeking a path forward for a deal to free all those still being held.”

“No one should have to endure even one day of what they have gone through, much less 100,” Biden said. “On this terrible day, I again reaffirm my pledge to all the hostages and their families—we are with you. We will never stop working to bring Americans home.”

Blinken said that it’s impossible “to understand what they have endured over those 100 days.”

“The United States is with you and we will not rest until you are reunited with your loved ones,” Blinken said to families of those kidnapped and held in Gaza. “We continue to work around the clock to secure the release of every hostage.”

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