‘Hamas is Hitler’s successor’: Hostages’ families head to The Hague to file complaint

A delegation of the Hostages and Missing Families Forum set to submit a war crimes claim against the terror group in the International Criminal Court

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

Families of hostages before taking off for The Hague on February 14, 2024. (Hostage and Missing Families Forum)
Families of hostages before taking off for The Hague on February 14, 2024. (Hostage and Missing Families Forum)

A delegation of family members of Israeli hostages being held captive by Hamas in Gaza set off Wednesday morning from Ben Gurion airport to The Hague in the Netherlands, where they will file complaints of war crimes against Hamas leaders at the International Criminal Court.

Speaking at the airport before takeoff, Ofri Bibas, the sister of Yarden Bibas who was abducted from Kibbutz Nir Oz along with his wife and two young children on October 7, said Hamas was the successor of the Nazis and that the terror group must be brought to account for its crimes.

“All of humanity must stand firm in the face of a global terrorist army in which Hamas is one battalion operating in its service,” said Bibas.

“The human monsters who harmed us and the members of our family are the successors of Hitler, Eichmann, and Goebbels, people who have already been brought to account,” she added. “The time has now come to do this again. This is not just our story. If we don’t stop this, tomorrow it will be story of the entire world.”

Yarden Bibas’s wife Shiri, 32 and their two boys, Ariel, 4 and Kfir, who was just nine months when he was abducted from his home, became symbols for the suffering of the hostages due to their young age and video footage of Shiri shielding her two sons from Hamas terrorists surrounding her after they were kidnapped.

Some 100 representatives of the families of the hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza are flying out in the delegation, along with several dozen lawyers who helped draft the legal submission to the ICC, which is empowered to prosecute individuals for serious violations of the Geneva Conventions that amount to war crimes if they are citizens of signatory states and entities, as the Palestinian Authority is.

Israel has not ratified the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, and therefore sees itself as not subject to the court’s jurisdiction.

Ziv Abud, whose partner is held hostage in Gaza, speaking at Ben Gurion Airport at a press conference before taking off for the Hague with other friends and family of hostages on February 14, 2024. (Hostages and Missing Families Forum)

It is believed that 130 hostages abducted by Hamas during its brutal October 7 assault 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. Three hostages have been rescued by troops, including two this week, and the bodies of 11 hostages have been recovered, including three mistakenly killed by the military.

The delegation of the hostage families forum will present its legal submission to the ICC, which includes 1,000 pages of eyewitness testimony and evidence of the crimes committed by Hamas terrorists on October 7.

The complaint, being filed by the Hostages and Missing Families Forum along with the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, includes charges of “kidnapping, crimes of sexual violence, torture and other serious allegations,” against the terror group.

Chief Prosecutor of the ICC Karim Kahn has already said he has opened an investigation into alleged Hamas war crimes, but it is hoped that the submission by the hostages’ families will further spur him to advance the investigation and issue arrest warrants against senior Hamas leaders.

Ziv Abud, whose partner Eliya Cohen was abducted from the Supernova music festival during the October 7 attack, and who herself fled from Hamas terrorists as they were massacring festival-goers, said she was traveling to The Hague to give eyewitness testimony of the atrocities she witnessed.

Abud hid in a bomb shelter after fleeing the festival along with Cohen and her nephew and his partner. Cohen was abducted; her nephew and his partner were murdered.

“I, who experienced horrors, who lost those dear to me and when my partner is still in a Hamas cellar, expect that this complaint, and after it the charges, will bring individual justice for each and every one of the families of the abducted, of the bereaved families, of the wounded in heart and soul, as well as global justice and an unequivocal understanding that we are dealing with a sadistic and cruel terror organization,” said Abud before boarding the flight to the Netherlands.

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