Relatives of Israelis kidnapped by Hamas militants more than a month ago came to the European Parliament on Wednesday to call for help.


More than 240 Israelis were kidnapped by Hamas on October 7 in a surprise attack that also led to more than 1,400 Israeli deaths. Just four of the hostages have so far been released for so-called “humanitarian purposes”.

The EU and US consider Hamas to be a terrorist organisation.

Yoni Asher, whose wife and two young daughters were kidnapped, was among the six families who came to Brussels. His mother-in-law was killed.

“It’s hard to describe the emotions in such a situation. I couldn’t do anything. I was helpless. I knew at that time that there were hundreds, retrospectively, thousands of terrorists,” he told Euronews.

“And I know the situation is bad. I know people got killed and I had nothing to do besides fall down on the floor. But after, not long ago, I decided it’s either fight for the life of my family or die. So I have only not two choices. I have only one choice,” he added. 

Israel has responded to the attack by launching a massive military offensive in Gaza but criticism has been mounting over the high number of civilian casualties. According to the local Hamas-led authorities, more than 10,000 people have now been killed in the retaliatory campaign, about half of whom are children.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has described the Gaza Strip as a “graveyard for children”.

Yoni said he would not mistreat Palestinian children even those of the militants who kidnapped his beloved family.

“You know something? If the son, the one who kidnapped my babies, if his son or daughter, little daughter or son, was right here next to me right now, you know what I would do? I would hug them and kiss them. You know why? Because children are children,” he said.

“But what would you do instead of me? What would you do if your children were kidnapped from their grandmother’s living room? Would you not use any means you have in order to get them back to save their lives?”

Shai Wenkert’s 22-year-old son, Omer, was taken at the Nova music festival. He has obtained harrowing footage of his son being taken in handcuffs and beaten.

“This is my son that is being slaughtered. And the gun pointed at him. He’s with handcuffed, but he is still looking at the camera like he’s angry. ‘Don’t beat me. I’m handcuffed’,” he told Euronews.

“He only went to a party, to the Nova festival, first to celebrate happiness and freedom and love,” he added. 

Shai and Yoni both said they support the Israeli government’s actions in Gaza. But some other relatives have been calling on the government to start negotiations with Hamas.


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