Noam Dan, whose cousin's husband remains in Hamas custody and who suffered the loss of two other family members in the hostilities, said on Dec. 3 that they used to think the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) knew what they were doing. But they were shocked to realize that the forces did not care who they were attacking. "We know for sure that three people were killed by our fire, three hostages," she declared while demanding to be informed of whether the families of captives "were given up on" by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's administration.
During today's meeting of the Israeli finance committee, Noam Dan, whose father is among the Israeli abductees in Gaza: "I want to know if we were given up on (...) we know for sure that three people were killed by our fire, three hostages" (minute 2:14)
— Hanno Hauenstein (@hahauenstein) December 4, 2023
In a previous appearance on Israel's Channel 13, Dan told her interviewer that "we know for sure that not only did [Israeli civilians] hear bombings, but buildings collapsed on top of their inhabitants," and that "hostages were injured" in the attacks. "The IDF damages the houses where they're held," she noted. And it's not just Israeli bombs that are jeopardizing the safety of the captive Israelis. Dan added that the sanctions on Gaza endanger the health of the hostages because if Gaza doesn't have flour, they don't have flour… It's one-to-one. She also noted that IDF's reputation has been left in tatters following its disastrous response to the cross-border raids carried out by Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups in early October.
"The whole notion that 'the IDF knows and protects them' has dissolved," Dan explained, adding that she was "surprised" that the Israeli army "allowed us to know so much because it completely fractured our confidence." In the same interview, she revealed that Tel Aviv had prohibited her from divulging information about the "very difficult experiences" endured by her relatives, telling the host: "I'm not allowed to provide details. They asked us not to."
Dan's latest testimony also corroborates a statement delivered from captivity in Gaza by the 34-year-old Israeli citizen Yarden Bibas. The abductee stated that the Israeli military had killed his wife and two children in an airstrike, and pleaded for the prime minister to negotiate for the release of their bodies: "Bibi, you destroyed my family. You killed my wife and my children, everything in my life… I am begging you, please bring my wife and my children home." (Related: October 7 testimonies reveal that IDF shot up Israeli homes, "burned alive" Israeli civilians – Hamas only responsible for SOME of the civilian deaths.)
Some of the freed hostages also told horrific experiences they had to endure during massive Israeli bombings while they were under Hamas custody. Israeli television producer Hagai Levi reported via his Facebook account: "From the reports of the returning abductees, it is repeated that the most horrifying captivity trauma they experienced was probably the IDF bombings." According to him, when the captives tell about them, they literally tremble. "The terms are 'of hell,' 'of the brink of death,' 'of an earthquake,' 'of noise from another planet' [which also caused permanent hearing damage]. The fear of being murdered by the captors was zero compared to the fear of dying in the bombing," Levi said.
A survey by Prof. Camille Fox, conducted in November for News 13 – for the first time since the outbreak of the war – examined what the public thinks about the conduct of the war. It found that 76 percent of his people wanted Netanyahu to resign immediately or at the end of the war. In comparison, only 18 percent think that Netanyahu should continue in his post even after it. In addition, only 28 percent answered that they trust the prime minister in the conduct of the war, while 56 percent answered that they do not trust him.
Though the military campaign Netanyahu oversees has managed to kill an estimated 15,899 Palestinians in indiscriminate aerial attacks, IDF’s ruthless tactics have failed to win the release of the 122 civilians they say remain in Gaza. Israeli captives freed from Gaza continue to warn that the Israeli military presents the greatest threat to those left behind in the besieged strip. Besides the bombings that have killed many Israelis in captivity, the prospect of a military rescue operation fills them with fear.
"The biggest threat currently hovering over the heads of abductees," wrote Levi, "is a military operation to rescue them. The families of the abductees and everyone around them should shout and scream and do everything so that such an operation does not take place. Its chances of mass slaughter are about a hundred times its success."
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