Can we hope for an agreement to release hostages in Gaza? The response from the Israeli ambassador to France

Romain Rouillard (comments collected by Hélène Zelany) / Photo credit: SAID KHATIB / AFP

“42 lives cut short”. This sad figure, recalled by Emmanuel Macron, is that of the French people killed on October 7, during the terrorist attack perpetrated by Hamas in Israeli territory. A national tribute, chaired by the Head of State, was paid to them this Wednesday. A ceremony, placed under the universal sign of the “fight against anti-Semitism”, during which the fate of the 136 hostages, still held in the Gaza Strip by the terrorist movement, was also to occupy many minds.

Antony Blinken, the head of American diplomacy, is currently in Israel to discuss a truce between the Hebrew state and Hamas, including the release of Israeli hostages, in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. The Secretary of State, however, affirmed that there remained “a lot of work” to be accomplished, even if Qatar indicated on Tuesday that it had received a “positive” response from Hamas, with a view to a draft agreement which must now be studied by the Israeli authorities.

“An unbearable situation” for families

Guest of Europe 1 Soir, Alona Fisher-Kamm, the Israeli ambassador to France, prefers to play the card of caution. “Hamas is a terrorist group that is not reliable at all. We cannot believe them,” asserts the diplomat. “In addition, they play a lot with psychology. It’s a very cruel game, so you have to be very careful. But we hope that we will soon be able to see the hostages back home,” she adds.

Referring to “an unbearable situation” for families “who know nothing about their fate”, Alona Fisher-Kamm cites a concrete example: “We do not even know if they received the medicines that President Macron sent”. An agreement between Hamas and Israel, mediated by Qatar, had in fact enabled France to transport medicines intended for the hostages in mid-January. Qatar has since indicated that the medicines had entered the Gaza Strip, without specifying whether they could have been transmitted to the hostages.

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