newsIsrael at War

Israel, US, France and hostage’s family slam Hamas video

“It is an ignominy to take innocent people hostage and put them on show in this odious way,” said French President Emmanuel Macron.

Keren Shem holds a photo of her daughter Mia, who is being held hostage in Gaza, at a press conference in Tel Aviv, Oct. 17, 2023. Photo by Gideon Markowicz/TPS.
Keren Shem holds a photo of her daughter Mia, who is being held hostage in Gaza, at a press conference in Tel Aviv, Oct. 17, 2023. Photo by Gideon Markowicz/TPS.

Keren Shem’s daughter Mia, an Israeli-French dual citizen captive in Gaza, features in a video Hamas released on Monday night.

“I see that she is in pain, scared, saying what she is told to say,” Keren said at a press conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.

“My message to my daughter is that I love her and I miss her and all these days I think about how I will hug her when she comes home. That’s what kept me strong.”

Israeli, U.S. and French officials on Tuesday denounced Hamas for releasing the video.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog, while visiting the southern cities of Ofakim and Netivot, said, “We have seen the video of Mia, a 21-year-old who was abducted brutally from a party. … And as part of the psychological warfare which Hamas is trying to pursue against Israel and its people, they are showing a videowhilst the real story is they have abducted a 21-year-old girl, they have wounded her.

“What we are trying to explain to the world is a very clear fact; we are dealing with inhumane terror, and we shall overcome. Because this is a battle between decency and evil, between evil and good. And we are at the forefront, the world forefront of good, and we shall overcome and we shall expose the face of Hamas, we shall undermine them, we shall beat them,” Herzog said.

French President Emmanuel Macron, in a statement released by the Elysee Palace, said, “It is an ignominy to take innocent people hostage and put them on show in this odious way.”

The statement demanded the “immediate and unconditional release” of Shem, a resident of Shoham, a town located east of Ben-Gurion Airport.

During a briefing for reporters, Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari also described the video as psychological warfare.

“This is psychological terror by Hamas against the citizens of Israel. We understand that there will be more videos like this. In this video, Hamas tries to present itself as a humanitarian organization while it is in fact a murderous terror group,” Hagari said.

“How did a 21-year-old girl who went to a party to dance, end up being kidnapped by a murderous terror group in the heart of Gaza?” he asked.

U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby agreed with that assessment, telling NBC‘s “Today” show, “It’s a propaganda video much more than it is proof of life or, certainly, proof of concept for Hamas. It’s despicable, deplorable that they would take these hostages and then advertise how well they’re treating them when they’re the ones who hurt them in the first place.

“There’s no question in my mind that that woman gave that video testimony under duress, probably forced to do it,” Kirby said.

Shem was abducted during Hamas’s attack on the Supernova Sukkot Music Festival near Kibbutz Re’im on Oct. 7. At least 260 people were killed at the rave.

The Hamas video, 78 seconds long, shows her lying down as someone wraps a bandage around her right arm. It then cuts to Shem speaking directly to the camera and identifying herself, saying she was operated on for three hours for a wound to her hand.

“They’re caring for me, they’re treating me, they’re giving me medication. Everything is okay,” she says. “I’m only asking for me to be returned home as soon as possible, to my family, to my parents, to my siblings. Please get us out of here as soon as possible.”

Hamas claims it is holding around 200 hostages in Gaza, and that around 50 more are being held by other terrorist groups. Israel has so far confirmed 199 hostages.

The terrorist group said that non-Israeli hostages were being held as “guests” who will be released “when circumstances allow.”

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