Family of captive Israeli tells UN: The international community must “to put the full weight of its authority on anyone who can help release Avre” who is held by Hamas.
By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News
Agarnesh and Ilan Gashao Mengistu, the mother and brother of Avraham Avre Mengistu, an Israeli citizen held by Hamas, addressed the United Nations (UN) and called on the international community “to put the full weight of its authority on anyone who can help release Avre.”
Ethiopian-Israeli Avera Mengistu crossed into Gaza willingly in September 2014 and has been held by the terror group ever since. He suffers from mental health issues.
“The Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza is toying with the life of a mentally disabled civilian. They are playing a cynical and cruel game with the life of a man who has never harmed a soul,” Mengistu said in Hebrew at a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York on Monday.
“I have a brother – he is helpless – and he needs your help. Look at my mother. She is a mother like all other mothers, and she deserves to know the fate of her son,” Mengistu continued.
Mengistu concluded his statement by calling for action from the international community.
“We are here today, at the United Nations, to call on the international community to put the full weight of its authority on anyone who can help release my brother Avre,” he said, calling on it to “pressure the international organizations that have showed weakness and helplessness. And of course, pressure Hamas, which is holding an ill individual captive more than three years, and is responsible for his fate.”
The Mengistus are touring the US in an attempt to garner support for Avre’s release.
At the press conference, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon he was at the UN “to demand answers.”
“The terrorists of Hamas have refused to even provide a sign of life to these suffering families. All those who demand an end to the humanitarian plight for the residents of Gaza must also demand the immediate release of all Israelis held by Hamas,” Danon said.
In September, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) discussed the fate of Israeli civilians and the remains of two IDF soldiers believed to be held by Hamas in a meeting with Yahya Sinwar, the leader of the Islamic terror group in Gaza.
Maurer requested to meet with the three Israeli captives, but Hamas refused to comply.
“Hamas is also holding the almost two million residents of the Gaza Strip hostage. Instead of providing education and healthcare, they’re digging terror tunnels and building rockets while denying their people the chance for a good life. Let me be clear. Israel will not rest until all of our citizens return home,” the Danon continued.
Hamas is believed to be holding three Israeli civilians who scaled a border fence and entered Gaza on their own volition.
Bedouin Hisham al-Sayed enterd Gaza in 2015. A third Israeli citizen, Bedouin Jumaa Abu Ghanima, entered Gaza in July 2016.
In addition, Hamas is believed to be holding the remains of two IDF soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, killed during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.