The Red Cross announced Monday evening that its president had traveled from Qatar to meet the leader of Palestinian Hamas Ismaïl Haniyeh in order to “advance on humanitarian issues linked to the armed conflict in Israel and Gaza”, the Palestinian territory governed by this movement.
“President Mirjana Spoljaric met Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas political bureau, and separately the authorities of Qatar,” the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a statement. Ismaïl Haniyeh is the head of the Hamas political bureau. At 61, he was notably the architect of Hamas’ electoral victory in 2006 in the Gaza Strip. He was also Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority.
This visit comes as Qatar, which is leading a mediation to try to obtain the release of the hostages Israelis detained in the Gaza Strip, ured Sunday that there remained only “very minor” obstacles to an agreement.
According to the ICRC, Mirjana Spoljaric’s visit is part of efforts to hold “direct discussions with all parties to improve respect for international humanitarian law.” He emphasizes that its president has also met “on multiple occasions in recent weeks with families of held hostages in Gaza, as well as senior Israeli and Palestinian officials.”
13,300 dead in Gaza according to Hamas
In this regard, the ICRC “insists that (its) teams be authorized to visit the hostages in order to ensure their well-being and to administer medication, and so that the hostages are able to communicate with their loved ones. families”. “Agreements must be reached to allow the ICRC to carry out its work safely. The ICRC cannot forcibly enter the places where the hostages are being held, nor do we know where they are,” the statement continued.
The Israeli military estimates that some 240 people were taken hostage in the Gaza Strip during the unprecedented Hamas attack on October 7 on Israeli territory. This left around 1,200 dead in Israel, mainly civilians, according to a report by the Israeli authorities.
In retaliation, Israel has relentlessly bombed the Gaza Strip and since October 27 has been carrying out a ground operation with the aim of “wiping out” the Islamist movement in power in the besieged Palestinian territory. These Israeli strikes on Gaza left more than 13,300 dead, including more than 5,600 children, according to the Hamas government.