Hamas claims that Israeli hostages left captivity ‘happy and laughing’

Hostages endured murder, starvation, and confinement in dark tunnels, with reports of women also subjected to rape.

By Hugh Fitzgerald, Frontpage Magazine

We all know that Hamas threatened the Israelis hostages that it was just about to release last November to put on happy faces, and wish their former captors “Shalom” for the cameras, and those who could manage it did as they were told.

They had been warned that if they did not collaborate, it would go hard with the hostages still being held captive, whom they were leaving behind.

But when they arrived home, the released hostages proceeded to describe the horrific conditions in which they had been held.

They spoke of living on one piece of pita bread each day,or being occasionally given rotten meat. Many of them lived in the tunnels, enduring the cold and the darkness. None had received a visit from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

And finally, after many months, some of them finally spoke publicly of the sexual abuse they had endured every day, including rapes, and revealed that all of the female hostages were still being similarly abused.

Christine Douglass-Williams wrote about this here, and more on this sexual abuse, and Hamas’ blanket denial, can be found here:

“Outrageous lie: Israeli hostages in Gaza “left happy and laughing” – they received “generous treatment” – PA TV interview,” by Itamar Marcus, Palestinian Media Watch, April 4, 2024:

Recently, an Israeli woman aged 40 who was held hostage by Hamas revealed that she was sexually assaulted by her captor.

And she is not the only one. Other hostages have also testified about sexual abuse, torture, and beatings while being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

As more testimonies from Israeli hostages who were freed last November after almost two months in Hamas captivity are being published, the war of narratives has become urgent.

The meager rations, the beatings, the confinement in dark and cold tunnels, were the common lot of the hostages.

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Several dozen hostages have also been murdered while in Hamas’ captivity over the past six months.

The Palestinian and Arab narrative is entirely fictitious and is intended to humanize Hamas and deny its atrocities.

One example is this outrageous claim made to official PA TV by a lecturer at Cairo University that the Israeli hostages received “generous treatment” and left captivity “happy and laughing”:

Head of Radio and TV Department at Cairo University’s Faculty of Mass Communications Ashraf Jalal:

“The generous treatment Palestine gave the Israeli prisoners (i.e., kidnapped women and children) caused an enormous positive response, because after [the Israelis] lied and said that [Hamas] is abusing them, the [Israeli] people left [Gaza] happy and laughing… What is required is that we redirect the media spotlight to this issue.”

[Official PA TV, From Cairo, Feb. 12, 2024]

This brazen lie follows those made by senior PA officials, which have been documented by Palestinian Media Watch.

In November 2023, Minister Qadura Fares, who is the director of the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, said that Israel “made up this story and said: They [the Palestinians] raped, killed, and burned” [Official PA TV, Nov. 20, 2023].

In December 2023, PLO Executive Committee member and PLF Secretary-General Wasel Abu Yusuf said: “Since October 7, there has been a Zionist version that [Israel] has attempted to spread worldwide out of tendentious propaganda, [claiming] that there was murder of children, rape of women, crimes, and the like” [Official PA TV, Topic of the Day, Dec. 3, 2023].

But we have the testimony about the murdered children, the rapes, the mutilation of bodies from Israeli survivors who witnessed or overheard these events from their hiding places.

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We also have the videos of these atrocities that were taken at the time by those who committed them, so proud were they of how they had terrorized, tortured, raped, and killed the hated Israelis.

And, of course, we have the 1,200 corpses of those who were burned to death, or stabbed or shot, with the females having had their breasts sliced off, and genitalia cut off men, as well as their eyes gouged out.

It’s not the charges of murder and kidnapping that Hamas feels the need to deny, but the charge of “sexual abuse” — meaning “rape.”

That is seen as beyond the pale.

Pass out candies and celebrate the murders of 1,200 Israelis on October 7, but remain silent about the mass rapes which Muslim men are not supposed to engage in.

“We have our standards,” they imply, and rape is not allowed.

It’s absurd of course: there were endless rapes on October 7, and then more sexual abuse, including rapes, of female hostages by their Hamas captors in Gaza that continue right up to the present day.

So please understand the threats that made some of those hostages — only a few could manage it — appear to be “happy and laughing” for the whirring cameras as they left Gaza, freed in the November hostage-for-prisoner exchange.

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And months later, concentrate on the full horror of what the remaining hostages — starved, beaten, held in cold, dark tunnels, with sexual abuse and rape a daily occurrence – must still endure.