U.S. State Department Spokesman Matthew Miller on Wednesday signaled that he agrees with Israel's position that the terror group Hamas deliberately violated the hostage deal in order to prevent some Israeli women from revealing details about the Islamic organization’s atrocities towards them during their captivity in the Gaza Strip.
“It seems one of the reasons they don’t want to turn women over that they have been holding hostage and the reason this pause fell apart is that they do not want these women to be able to talk about what happened to them during their time in custody,” Miller stated during a press conference.
Israeli UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan recently blasted the United Nations’ silence about Hamas terrorists’ systematic sexual violence crimes committed against Israeli women on Oct. 7.
Israel has demanded that Hamas releases the remaining 20 women and at least two children that the Islamic terror group is believed to still be holding as hostages inside the Gaza Strip.
However, the senior Hamas official Saleh al-Arouri claimed in a recent Al Jazeera interview that the Gaza-based terror group is no longer holding any female prisoners.
“From the beginning, the Hamas movement announced that the foreign prisoners were to be released without compensation, and that the children and women hostages were not a target and would be released,” al-Arouri claimed.
The senior Hamas leader stressed that future hostage negotiations would only take place after the war is over.
“The remaining prisoners in our hands are soldiers and former soldiers, and there will be no negotiations regarding them until the end of hostilities,” he said.
However, Israel has vowed to topple the Hamas regime and eliminate its military and political power.
Miller also blamed Hamas for endangering civilian lives in the Gaza Strip by deliberately operating in public areas, such as near schools and hospitals.
“It is Hamas that is putting [Palestinian] civilians in harm's way. I am surprised that I do not hear more people say why doesn’t Hamas move out of schools? Why doesn’t Hamas take additional steps to protect civilians? Because we think they should as we think Israel should,” Miller said.
He urged Hamas terrorists to put down their arms for the sake of civilians in Gaza.
“We would welcome Hamas laying down its arms at any point.”
“They could do it today if they cared about Palestinian civilian life,” he added.
Miller also addressed the issue of growing antisemitism in the United States and around the world amid the ongoing fighting with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
“We oppose antisemitism wherever we see it,” Miller stated.
Global antisemitism has soared by 500% compared to 2022, according to a November survey conducted by the World Zionist Organization. It was noted that conflicts between Israel and terrorist groups in the Middle East tend to ignite anger among radicalized young Muslims living in Western countries, such as France, Germany, Great Britain, the U.S. and others
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.