November 9, 2023 | Flash Brief

Palestinian Islamic Jihad Releases New Hostage Video

November 9, 2023 | Flash Brief

Palestinian Islamic Jihad Releases New Hostage Video

Latest Developments

Palestinian Islamic Jihad released a video of two Israeli hostages on November 9, claiming it would release them on humanitarian grounds once “appropriate measures are met.” The two hostages shown are an elderly woman and a young boy. Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), called the video “psychological terror,” adding that Israel has “not missed and will not miss any opportunity to return the hostages.”

Israel says that about 240 hostages were seized during the October 7 incursion, among whom are Israelis, foreign nationals, and dual nationals representing more than 40 countries. These hostages include civilians, soldiers, people with disabilities, children, seniors, and a now ten-month-old baby. So far, Hamas has released only four hostages, and Israeli forces rescued one additional hostage. The majority of hostages are believed to be held by Hamas, while Palestinian Islamic Jihad claims to hold at least 30 captives.

Expert Analysis

“Hamas’s holding of the hostages is a war crime. The Geneva Conventions specifically prohibit the taking and holding of hostages. Hamas is required by international law to release the hostages immediately and unconditionally.” Orde Kittrie, FDD Senior Fellow

“Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are conducting psychological warfare against Israel and leveraging the hostages to win its survival through a ceasefire. If the end state objective is the destruction of terrorists in the Gaza Strip, any so-called negotiation process that empowers this kind of psychological warfare makes it harder to achieve that end state.” Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

Hamas Rejects Red Cross Call to Access Hostages

On October 15, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) urged Hamas to let its staff visit the hostages to check on their wellbeing, but Hamas continues to deny the requests. Multiple international organizations, including the ICRC, have noted that international law prohibits the taking of hostages.

A group of United Nations (UN) experts stated on October 19 that hostage-taking “is absolutely prohibited under international law and constitutes a war crime. ICRC access must be provided to those taken hostage and the hostages must receive medical care. No harm must come to the hostages taken and held incommunicado by Hamas. They must be released.”

Holding Hostages Is a War Crime

Hamas’s hostage-taking on October 7 was a war crime. It violates the most basic obligations of the international law of armed conflict, obligations which apply fully to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups. Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions — known as such because it appears in each of the four conventions — specifically prohibits the taking of hostages. Every UN member state — including the United States, Israel, Qatar, and Turkey — has adopted the four Conventions. Furthermore, the Palestinian Authority adopted the four conventions in 2014.

Hamas is further violating international law by failing to provide information about the hostages to parties such as the ICRC.

Hamas Demands Release of Terrorists in Exchange for Israeli Hostages,” FDD Flash Brief

Ex-Hostage Recounts Hamas Mass-Kidnapping Tactics,” FDD Flash Brief

Hamas Releases Two American Hostages,” FDD Flash Brief

Hamas Takes Israelis and Foreign Nationals Hostage,” FDD Flash Brief


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