Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hits out at hostages' families for helping Hamas, say reports

L: Relatives and supporters lift placards bearing portraits of Israelis held hostage by Palestinian Hamas militants in Gaza since October 7, during a rally demanding their release outside Israeli Premier's private residence in Caesarea, north of Tel Aviv, on January 27, 2024.
R: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
  • Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu criticized protests by the families of hostages in Gaza.

  • He said the protests were helping harden Hamas' demands, The Jerusalem Post reported.

  • Hamas took around 240 hostages during its October 7 attacks on Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said protests organized by families of hostages in Gaza were helping Hamas, say reports.

Speaking at a Tel Aviv press conference on Saturday night, Netanyahu criticized the hostage families' protests.

"I understand that it is impossible to control one's emotions," he said. But, the hostages' protest movement "doesn't help" and only "hardens Hamas' demands and delays the results that we all want," The Jerusalem Post reported.

The hostages' families hit back in a statement, per The Jerusalem Post. it said the "Prime Minister should remember that he is an elected official whose job it is to correct the mistakes" — a reference to the security failings on October 7 and the terror attacks on Israel by Hamas — "not to scold those whose family members were kidnapped."

Netanyahu added that the goal of his government was to eliminate Hamas, and the war would not end until the mission was completed.

"There are people among us who doubt our capabilities, but they are a minority," he added, per a report by Anadolu Agency, the Turkish state news outlet.

He also said that investigations into Hamas' October 7 attacks "should be opened after the end of the war, not during its peak," per the report.

Jonathan Pollard, a former US Navy intelligence analyst who was convicted of spying for Israel, previously said the families of those taken captive in Gaza should have been silenced.

"When Israel declared war, the first thing that the government should have done was declare a state of national emergency and told all the hostages: 'You will keep your mouth shut or we will shut them for you,'" he said.

"If that means imprisoning to silence certain members of the hostage families, then so be it — we're in a state of war," he continued.

During a temporary ceasefire in November, Hamas released 105 hostages from Gaza.

Israeli tank Gaza
A destroyed Israeli tank in Gaza City, Gaza on October 7, 2023.Hani Alshaer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Palestinian militant group's October 7 attacks killed around 1,200 people in Israel, while about 240 others were taken hostage.

Israel responded to the attacks by bombarding the Gaza Strip with airstrikes and launching a ground invasion of the territory.

Its strikes have destroyed more than 60% of the homes in Gaza and left the area "uninhabitable," according to a report from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

UN experts also said that Gazans now make up 80% "of all people facing famine or catastrophic hunger worldwide," per the report.

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