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After 20 days, no evidence of hostages receiving essential meds

Humanitarian aid has continued to flow into Gaza despite no confirmation Hamas has held up its side of the deal to provide medication to hostages

Israelis attend a protest outside the PM's official residence in Jerusalem, calling for the release of Israelis held kidnapped by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, January 22, 2024. (Photo: Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

France is seeking to ascertain whether the hostages in Gaza have received the much-needed medications, as agreed upon in a deal between Israel and Hamas last month.

According to the deal brokered by Qatar in January, the Israeli hostages would receive vital medication in exchange for an increase in humanitarian aid to Gaza. And while aid to Gaza has continued to flow, there has been no official statement as to whether the hostages being held in Gaza have received any of the medications earmarked for them.

Following the deal, Qatar said the delivery of the medications would begin on Jan. 17. At the time, Hagai Levine, Israel's head of the medical team for the Hostage and Missing Families Forum, said: “We welcome all efforts to transfer medicine to the hostages, but their lives are at risk and they need to be released immediately.” 

Levine also stressed that visual evidence would be required to prove the hostages had received the correct medication.

On Monday, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz met with French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné during his visit to the Jewish state and asked Séjourné to pressure Qatar to obtain proof that the medicines had been delivered.

The top French diplomat told Katz that France was working on it and affirmed that if the medications had not been delivered there would be “serious consequences.”

According to an official accompanying Séjourné in Israel, the medications have entered Gaza.

“We know that the medications effectively entered Gaza. The modalities of their transfer to the hostages were dealt with under Qatar’s mediation, said the official source, who spoke to the Times of Israel on condition of anonymity.

We now expect to receive verifiable proof that the medications have reached their beneficiaries,” the official said, adding: “The responsibility lies on Hamas and is a matter of regular exchanges with Qatari authorities.”

According to the official, France is working with Qatar and others in the region to investigate the issue.

It is the obligation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to oversee medical assistance for the hostages, including bringing them vital medications, according to its own mission statement that requires the organization to provide “humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence.”

Many of the hostages currently being held captive in Gaza need daily medication due to chronic illnesses, while others were severely injured during the Oct. 7 massacre and require proper treatment.

Former hostages who were already released have testified that hostages are subject to torture and sexual assault in the tunnels. Despite this, the ICRC reportedly had not visited any of the hostages to check on their condition and provide necessary medical treatment.

In a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the ICRC admitted that they had not even tried to gain access to the hostages. In addition, the organization has refused to become involved in the transfer of medicines, forcing Israel to rely upon Hamas operatives for the delivery.

“The ICRC initiated the conversation in its role as a neutral intermediary. The parties negotiated the agreement, including how much medicines would be delivered and by whom, with Qatar brokering the deal. The mechanism that was agreed to does not involve the ICRC playing any part in its implementation, including the delivery of medication,” the ICRC wrote on its website last month.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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