Sha’aban al-Said called on the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday to rescue his son Hisham, held captive by Hamas in the Gaza Strip since 2015.

“I am pleading with you to get involved and exert effort and place pressure on Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to free my son as soon as possible, and not to use him as a card against Israel,” al-Said said in a video message played by Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Gilad Erdan.

Addressing the 15-member council after playing the brief message, Erdan said, “Here is a father of a son with special needs that is begging this council—begging you—to take action. Hamas is using his boy as a sick bargaining chip and the world remains silent. I hope we all internalize his words.”

On June 27, Hamas announced that the health of Hisham al-Said had deteriorated and released footage of him hooked up to a respirator.

Al-Said, who is from a Bedouin community in Israel, crossed into the Hamas-ruled enclave of Gaza of his own accord seven years ago.

He is one of two Israeli civilians held captive by Hamas. The other, Avera Mengistu, also crossed in voluntarily, in 2014. Mengistu also reportedly suffers from mental health issues.

Hamas is also holding the remains of Israeli soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, who were killed in combat during “Operation Protective Edge” in 2014.

In response to the video last month, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office released a statement saying, “Hamas has proven yet again that it is a cynical and criminal terrorist organization, which holds mentally ill civilians in violation of all international conventions and laws, as well as the bodies of fallen IDF soldiers. Hamas is responsible for the state of the captured civilians.”

Then-Israeli premier Naftali Bennett added that “the State of Israel will continue its efforts, mediated by Egypt, to bring home the captives and the missing, with responsibility and determination.”

JNS

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