Hamas launched its psychological warfare Monday night when the terrorist organization released the first video footage of an Israeli hostage in the Gaza Strip, who is seen receiving medical treatment and later talking to the camera. French-Israeli citizen Mia Schem, 21, was kidnapped from the Nova music festival in Kibbutz Re'im.
The Hamas terror group late on Monday released the first recorded images of an Israeli hostage who is also a French citizen, under the title "Taking care of one of the hostages." The video clip, intended to be used as psychological warfare, shows 21-year-old Mia Schem from Shoham, who was abducted from the Nova music festival in Re'im. In the documentation, which may have been filmed under threats, at an unknown time and under unknown conditions, she is seen saying "I just ask to return home, get me out of here as quickly as possible." She said she had been wounded in her hand and was treated.
Keren Schem, Mia's mother, told Ynet late Monday night that this video is the first confirmation for her that her daughter is alive. "I know my baby is alive, I was in uncertainty until now," she said. "There was only a hypothesis that she was kidnapped, we didn't know anything. I saw my daughter now, that she was injured. You can see that she is in pain, scared, but she seems to be in a stable condition. I almost fainted, I fell on the floor, I couldn't believe that I was seeing her."
She appealed to world leaders: "I demand that my baby be returned home exactly as she looks, exactly as in the video. She will return to me and I will take care of her, she will receive medical treatment in Israel. In addition, I demand that all 200 of our abductees be returned home. Here are children, boys and girls, who went out to celebrate life and be at a party. This is not the place they should be."
During the cabinet meeting at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ministers were informed about the release of the video. Israel meanwhile has refrained from commenting, as has the French embassy.
"Last week, Mia Schem's family was informed by IDF officials that Mia had been abducted. IDF representatives are in continuous contact with the family," according to the IDF spokesman. "The IDF is deploying all intelligence and operational measures for the return of the hostages."
"In the video, Hamas is trying to portray itself as a humane organization, while it is a murderous terrorist organization responsible for the murder and abduction of babies, women, children, and elderly," according to the IDF.
Mia is a tattoo artist at the Liav Tattoo studio. Liav Forer, the owner of the studio where Mia worked until the Saturday when she was kidnapped, said that Mia is a girl full of joy in life and maturity, who always knows how to help and make everyone laugh.
Forer said she wanted to be a tattooer. "It was her dream, it made her want to smile, she kept wanting to do it, all the time. She was the girl everyone loved, she was truly a true friend. A week before she was kidnapped, she decided to draw a tattoo of a Star of David and hearts and said that she decided to do so because she loves the country."
IDF spokesman Brig. Gen. Daniel Hagari said that "so far we have informed 291 families of dead IDF soldiers, and the families of 199 abductees." On Sunday night, Hamas leader Khaled Maashal addressed the issue of the abductees in Gaza, saying that "there is a difference between a Zionist soldier who was captured and the civilians, and those with dual citizenship, it's a different account between abducted military personnel and civilians." He added: "We intend to confront the IDF, not the civilians."
At the same time, the spokesman for Hamas's military wing, Abu Obaida, claimed that the terrorist organization is treating the captives in accordance with humanitarian law, even though the very kidnapping of the civilians - including babies, women and the elderly - is completely against international law. Abu Obaida added that "the number of captives is between 200 and 250. There is a group of captives with dual citizenship, we consider them our guests, and as soon as the conditions on the ground allow their release - we will do so."
Succumbing to pressure
Ynet military and security commentator Ron Ben Yishai explains that Abu Obaida's announcement about the captives has practical significance and is a positive development. First, because Hamas is concerned about the number of abductees, captives and hostages in the hands of the organization, and also probably in the hands of other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip - mainly the Islamic Jihad. The very fact that an official Hamas spokesman cites numbers obligates the terrorist organization, meaning - if at the end of the war some of these abductees are not returned, Hamas will be directly responsible for their deaths, and those who held them will be accused of war crimes.