France demands evidence that Israeli captives received medicine

As one of the deal’s mediators, France is pressing Qatar to provide “verifiable proof” that hostage families have been demanding for nearly three weeks.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

France is anticipating evidence that dozens of ill Hamas hostages received the medications Israel provided in a deal brokered through Paris and Doha nearly three weeks ago.

French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne is currently visiting Israel, and a source in his delegation told Israeli news outlets that “The modalities of their transfer to the hostages were dealt with under Qatar’s mediation. We now expect to receive verifiable proof that the medications have reached their beneficiaries.”

In his meeting with Sejourne, Foreign Minister Israel Katz had asked that France insist that the Qataris obtain such proof.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said at the deal’s announcement that Qatar had promised to guarantee their delivery, which would include visual evidence of the medicines’ handover, “and I expect them to meet their commitment.”

Channel 12 reported that Sejourne had answered Katz that they were already dealing with the issue, and that if France finds out that the medicines had not reached their destinations, there would be “serious consequences.”

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“Consequences” could be considered questionable, since Hamas already received their demanded 1,000 boxes of medication and hospital supplies for every package that was supposedly going to each of 45 hostages with a three-month supply of medicine they desperately need to treat their chronic illnesses.

“The responsibility lays on Hamas” to provide the information, the source added, confirming that Paris is pressing Qatar, which has “regular exchanges” with the terror organization.

Qatar has been one of Hamas’ greatest backers over the years along with Iran, supporting its Islamist rule in Gaza with millions of dollars a year due to their similar ideological beliefs. As a result, it has Hamas’ ear and became the chief mediator regarding the approximately 250 hostages the terrorists kidnapped on October 7, 2023 during their surprise attack in which they massacred 1,200 people.

Hamas freed more than a hundred hostages in late November through Qatari mediation, in exchange for increased humanitarian aid and some 240 mostly minor Palestinian terrorists imprisoned in Israel.

On January 18, Qatar announced that the packages of medications meant for the hostages had entered the Gaza Strip. Four days later, Prof. Hagai Levin, head of the medical team on behalf of the Hostages Families Forum, told N12 that “We are in continuous and daily contact with the French representatives and they received a message that the drugs were delivered to most of the abductees, but until we see conclusive proof with our own eyes we can’t accept this claim.”

He also pointed out that besides the specific medications Israel knew were needed, “To understand what their current condition is, the abductees need to see a doctor. The French mediators says the Qataris have promised to provide proof. We are waiting to see if they will fulfill this promise.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), whose mission includes visiting and providing captives with medical aid, was never a partner to the January deal. Israel is furious with the ICRC, which has yet to visit a single hostage and has actually refused to deliver a single vial of medicine through its aid workers in the coastal enclave.