Debunking harmful narratives about our work in Israel and the Palestinian occupied territories

“The ICRC is doing nothing for the hostages …”

We want families in Israel and abroad to know that the plight of their loved ones being held hostage is one of our priorities.

From day one, we have called on Hamas to release all the hostages immediately; to provide information about them and their state of health; to grant us access to them so we can make sure that they are being treated humanely and with dignity, and to check their state of health and provide the health care they need; and to let them communicate with their families.

Our president met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Qatar and made the very same requests. Our president and our head of delegation in Israel have met with relatives of the hostages several times and repeatedly publicly asked for their release. We have published a dozen of statements where this has been communicated publicly.

We haven’t stopped calling for these things in our bilateral and confidential dialogue with Hamas, the Israeli government and international officials, and also publicly. We will continue to do so for as long as it takes. We will not give up.

But we are not the ones making the decision on whether we have access or not, and creating the conditions for access to materialize. We wish we had that power, but we don´t, and we cannot force our way in to where hostages are held, nor do we know their location.

We have a team in charge of this dialogue and they continue to speak with Hamas at the highest levels. The ICRC does not take part in negotiations leading to the release of hostages, are not aware of the details of the negotiations, and do not have information on what exactly is the content of the agreement.

Our colleagues in Gaza are ready to visit the hostages and to facilitate more releases as a neutral intermediary if an agreement is reached by the parties.

For more information, see FAQ on the hostages held in Gaza (20 November 2023)

Source : Icrc