Family of hostage Daniella Gilboa allows release of Hamas video of her from January

Relatives release three-minute clip, edited from longer Hamas footage showing two other hostages, to emphasize ‘last opportunity’ to save captives’ lives

Daniella Gilboa in a Hamas propaganda clip published January 26, 2024. (Screenshot: Telegram)
Daniella Gilboa in a Hamas propaganda clip published January 26, 2024. (Screenshot: Telegram)

The family of Israeli hostage Daniella Gilboa permitted media on Monday to publish a Hamas propaganda video of her from January, in which Gilboa says she has been abandoned by the government and begs to be brought home.

Though Hamas has from time to time issued clips of hostages as part of its efforts to pressure Israel into a hostage release deal, Israeli media does not publish the videos without the express permission of the families. The government has said the videos are an instrument of psychological warfare.

Hamas originally released the clip in January as part of a longer video that also showed hostages Karina Ariev, 19, and Doron Steinbrecher, 30. Like other outlets, The Times of Israel published news of the video’s release when it happened, but did not share the clip or a detailed description of it.

The decision to allow its release now was meant to galvanize support for the effort to arrive at a deal with Hamas, Gilboa’s mother told Kan news.

Gilboa was abducted from the Nahal Oz military base on October 7 of last year, when thousands of terrorists invaded southern Israel from the Gaza Strip, killing some 1,200 people and taking 251 hostages, and sparking the ongoing war between Israel and the Hamas terror group.

The hostage, who was 19 at the time but who has since turned 20 in captivity, was serving as a surveillance soldier as part of her mandatory military service. Many young female surveillance soldiers were killed during the Hamas assault on the base, while several were captured.

At the start of the clip, Gilboa identifies herself and says that she has been held by Hamas for 107 days, which would date the clip to January 22 (though the actual date of the video cannot be verified). Gilboa was likely coerced when she made the video.

“I am under bombardment and fire 24 hours a day. I am very, very scared for my life. You even almost killed me one time with your bombs,” Gilboa says in the video.

The sounds of explosions can be heard in the background while Gilboa speaks. It is unclear whether those were authentically recorded or edited in.

“Where were you on October 7 when I was kidnapped from my bed? Where are you now?” Gilboa says. “Why should I as a soldier… feel that I have been abandoned and thrown away?

“Get over yourselves, my dear government, and start doing your job as is necessary to bring all of us back home, while we are still alive,” Gilboa says.

“I don’t need any food, any money, any clothing, anything — just that you bring us home alive,” she adds.

Gilboa then addresses her family, saying: “I miss you very much, and I love you. I ask that you be strong, and that you do all that you can to bring me back home while I am still alive.”

The video resembled other videos Hamas has released of its captives, which in some cases have been the first sign of life from them since their abduction.

L-R: Hostages Karina Ariev, Daniella Gilboa, and Doron Steinbrecher are seen in a Hamas propaganda clip published January 26, 2024. (Screenshot: Telegram)

The Gilboa family has now joined some others in allowing the publication of the  clip in order to draw attention to the plight of the captives, and to pressure the government into making a deal to bring them home.

Israeli negotiators are in Egypt and Qatar this week, in renewed negotiations for a hostage-truce deal, in which the terror group would release Israeli captives in exchange for a ceasefire and the release of Palestinian prisoners.

In November, Hamas released 105 civilian hostages in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and a one-week ceasefire. But further negotiations have been unsuccessful, as Hamas has demanded that Israel commit to end the war, a condition that Israel has refused to accept.

Over the weekend Hamas said it dropped its demand that Israel agree upfront to end the war, raising hopes for a deal, though it has also said it is seeking guarantees from mediators that the fighting will not resume.

In an interview with the Ynet news site, Orly Gilboa, Daniella’s mother, addressed far-right ministers Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, who have opposed hostage deals arguing the price demanded of Israel is too high.

“Enough, enough, let this deal happen,” she said, adding, “It seems this is our last opportunity to bring our children home.”

Activists protest calling for the release of hostages held in Gaza, outside the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv, July 3, 2024. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Commenting on the video, Orly said: “Daniella is acting her part. I recognize that sense for acting that she has, that ability to say things the way they expect her to, the way they had it written for her. I know it’s an act, it’s psychological warfare.”

The hostage’s mother noted that the video was filmed some six months ago, and that “her mental state [was] not good even on the 100th day [of captivity] — today we’re on day 277.”

She added that the family had received notice from the military of a confirmed sign of life about two months ago, but was not given any further details.

Orly said she hoped her daughter was still with fellow hostages Karina Ariev and Doron Steinbrecher.

Asked if she had a message for her daughter, the mother said: “I just want to tell her, ‘Keep holding onto your optimism.’ That it will happen, that it will happen soon, that this time it’s closer than ever.”

The decision by Gilboa’s family to permit publication of the January clip followed an earlier decision in May by families of surveillance soldiers to release footage showing the five young women’s abduction from the Nahal Oz base.

In the footage, taken by the Hamas terrorists using body cameras, the women are seen bloodied and wounded, with their hands tied, while Hamas men are heard telling the captive soldiers, “You are very beautiful” and referring to them using a term that the Islamic State terror group used to refer to sex slaves.

A still from footage showing the capture and abduction of Liri Albag, Karina Ariev, Agam Berger, Daniella Gilboa and Naama Levy at the Nahal Oz base on October 7, 2023. (The Hostages Families Forum)

At least one hostage released in November has testified to sexual abuse in captivity, while others have attested to hearing accounts of abuse from other captives in Gaza.

A United Nations report in March said there is “clear and convincing” evidence that hostages have been raped in captivity, and that those currently held captive are still facing such abuse.

It is believed that 116 hostages abducted by Hamas on October 7 remain in Gaza — not all of them alive — after 105 civilians were released from Hamas captivity during a weeklong truce in late November, and four hostages were released prior to that.

Seven hostages have been rescued by troops alive, and the bodies of 19 hostages have also been recovered, including three mistakenly killed by the military. The IDF has confirmed the deaths of 42 of those still held by Hamas, citing intelligence and findings obtained by troops operating in Gaza. One more person is listed as missing since October 7, and their fate is still unknown. Hamas is also holding two Israeli civilians who entered the Strip in 2014 and 2015, as well as the bodies of two IDF soldiers who were killed in 2014.

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