Families of hostages demand PM agree to release deal with Hamas

Jon, father of hostage Hersh Polin, says families caught in midst of political games, says bringing back all hostages, dead or alive is vital for country's rehabilitation after October 7

Families of hostages demand their immediate release
(Aviv Atlas )

Jon Polin, whose son Hersh is being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza, said on Sunday that he continues to push for a deal to free the hostages despite what he calls everyone's "games."
"I understand everyone is playing a game, Israel, the U.S. and Hamas," he said in an interview with Ynet. "I will continue to push forward for a deal, whether it is with the current government or another one – we will get this done. We are in favor of a deal that will bring all the hostages back as quickly as possible.
Polin criticized what he described as politicking on the backs of the captives. "There is no doubt that that is going on, " he said. "We are caught in the middle of political games with the Ben-Gvir's and Smotriches. We as parents want one thing, to bring the hostages back today. All else is not for us to decide."
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Hersh Goldberg-Polin with his mother Rachel, John Polin
Hersh Goldberg-Polin with his mother Rachel, John Polin
Hersh Goldberg-Polin with his mother Rachel, Jon Polin
(Photo: Screenshot)
Jon Polin joined other families of hostages in a protest calling for a hostage deal, in Jerusalem on Saturday. "I understand that the deal includes all of the hostages being freed in two or three phases. That is what senior American officials have said. I don't know what is true or not. We are talking about the release of all the hostages, dead or alive."
The Hostages and Missing Families Forum issued a statement calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to ignore political pressure and bring back the hostages. "On the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, we remind you of your promise each year: Never again," they wrote. "This is the time to show leadership and courage and work to bring back all the 132 captives held by the Hamas terrorist monsters – the live ones to rehabilitation and the dead ones to burial. History will not forgive you if you miss this opportunity because the return of the captives is a prerequisite for the national rehabilitation and resurrection."
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מחאה נגד הממשלה בתל אביב
מחאה נגד הממשלה בתל אביב
Anti-government protesters call for the release of hostages in Tel Aviv on Saturday
(Photo: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)
In Jerusalem, some 50 members of families of fallen soldiers who are affiliated with the Gvura (Hero's) Forum, marched to the prime minister's office demanding the IDF launch its offensive on Rafah.
Frieda Marziano, the mother of Itai, who was killed in the fighting in Gaza, called for Rafah to be attacked. "If we take the military out of Gaza we will never send them back," she told Ynet in an interview. "Did all those soldiers die in vain?" she asked. "We're there, we've started, let's finish this once and for all," she said.
Meanwhile as mediators await the Hamas response to their last proposal for a hostage release deal in exchange for a cease-fire, a senior Hamas official told the Qatar Al Araby al Jadeed newspaper that the terror group is interested in finalizing the deal, but not without an end to the war. "Netanyahu is threatening to invade Rafah to block a deal for personal considerations," he said. "The occupation would pay a heavy price for any 'adventure' it undertakes," he said.
Earlier, Sky News in Arabic quoted a senior Arab official who said the draft of the agreement is the best proposed yet. "The calculations of Prime Minister Netanyahu and some the Hamas leaders is what is complicating the decision to approve the deal," he said. "Netanyahu for his political reasons may reject the deal even if Hamas agrees to Israel's demands," he said.
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First published: 11:20, 05.05.24
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