Netanyahu: Those claiming I’m not doing everything to bring hostages home are causing their families pain

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Turning to the hostages held in Gaza, Netanyahu says that “it is hard to imagine the torment of the families who are worried about the fate of their loved ones.”

“Their loved ones are our loved ones,” insists Netanyahu.

He refers to the testimony freed hostages have given about the sexual violence they suffered at the hands of Hamas, and blasts silence from the world, including from women’s organizations and from the mother of the Emir of Qatar, to whom Sara Netanyahu sent a letter asking her to secure the release of the hostages. The testimony of those such as released hostage Amit Soussana “makes the blood boil,” and the world silence “screams out to the heavens,” he says.

As protests by the hostage families and their supporters grow in Jerusalem, Netanyahu says he “understands the despair and the desire to do everything to get back [the hostages]. And I am a full partner to that desire.”

“As Israel’s prime minister, I am doing everything, and will do everything to bring our loved ones home,” he says.

Efforts to bring them back are ongoing, Netanyahu continues. “Every time we get precise intelligence and operational conditions allow it, I approve rescue operations.”

Netanyahu says the main effort is a combination of “military pressure and determined negotiations.”

He says he is balancing a firm position against Hamas and flexibility in talks.

Netanyahu argues that anyone who claims he and the rest of the leadership is not doing everything to bring the hostages home “is mistaken and is causing others to be mistaken.”

Those who “know the truth and still repeat this lie cause unnecessary agony for the families of the hostages,” he insists.

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