OAN’s Taylor Tinsley
2:15 PM – Wednesday, February 7, 2023
A bipartisan bicameral delegation hosted the speaker of Israel’s parliament and the families of hostages abducted by Hamas to call for their immediate release.
On Wednesday, Senator Joni Ernst (D-Iowa) and Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) hosted the members of the Israeli Knesset on Capitol Hill.
The Iowa Democrat said lawmakers stand united across party lines for the hostages to be released.
The speaker of Israel’s parliament, Amir Ohana, said the purpose of the press conference was to show the world and America “that we are united.”
“Our commitment is to bring back all the hostages to their families as soon as possible, and this is an effort that Israel doesn’t take alone,” he said. “We have America by our side, and we were successful to bring a deal before, and we hope that such a deal will be possible once again.”
When speaking on Israel’s goals, Ohana argued they cannot stop until Hamas is defeated.
He also said Israel represents the free world and that they will prevail.
“Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis, the shared militias, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are merely proxy’s of Iran,” Ohana said. “If there is one thing I would like you to take with you is that Iran, who funds and operates and created these monstrous terrorist organizations must not exit the war the way it entered.”
Families of those taken by Hamas on October 7th also took the podium on Wednesday.
“It’s very, very difficult for us to think about our son, who rescued dozens of people from the Nova festival sitting there in the tunnels without food or water and with these animals of Hamas,” said Ditza Mor, the father of hostage Eitan Mor.
“The last sentence of the American anthem is ‘the land of the free and home of the brave’, and Romi is the bravest person I know. 124 days in a tunnel and she must be free,” said Eitan Gonen, the father of hostage Romi Gonen.
February 7th marks four months since the estimated 136 remaining hostages have been held captive.
The press conference came after an internal Israeli military report reviewed by The New York Times estimated that at least one-fifth of the hostages in Gaza have been killed.
Intelligence officers concluded that at least 31 hostages have been murdered since the war began, with at least 20 more feared dead.
Both sides continue talks for a possible ceasefire.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected more terms proposed by Hamas on Wednesday, calling them “bizarre” and “delusional.”
Past terms have included the release of over 1,000 prisoners, plans to rebuild infrastructure in Gaza, and recognition of an independent Palestinian Authority.
Netanyahu said if Hamas survives Gaza “it’s only a question of time until the next massacre” will occur.
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