Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/ Flash90
International Committee of the Red Cross President Peter Maurer (L) with Hamas Gaza Chief Yehya Al-Sinwar in Gaza City, September 5, 2017.

According to the London-based and Qatar-affiliated Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, Hamas will not allow the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to visit the Israeli hostages. This constitutes a violation of the Hamas hostage deal with Israel. According to the report, Hamas will notify the Red Cross of the hostages’ situation and health condition, but won’t allow direct interaction.

The section about the Red Cross visits of the hostages who will not be released in the initial phase was included in the agreement and approved by all the parties. The guarantor countries of the agreement – Qatar, the US, and Egypt – are obliged to verify its full implementation.


As of Friday morning, the ICRC has not confirmed that it would be allowed to visit the hostages, but noted: “As soon as such visits are agreed upon, we will be prepared to hold them.”

The Wall Street Journal and Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported on Thursday that the main reason for the sudden delay in carrying out the exchanges had to do with Hamas’s reneging on the ICRC visits.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said on Thursday that he expects the ICRC visits to take place as agreed, but a spokesman for the Qatari foreign office who was asked on Thursday if there will be visits by the Red Cross stated: “I have no information on the subject.”

The ICRC issued a statement saying, “Since October 7, 2023, the International Committee of the Red Cross has repeatedly requested the release of all the hostages held in Gaza and their humane treatment. We have not stopped asking for this and will continue as long as it is required. So far, the International Committee of the Red Cross has not been informed about the agreement reached by the parties regarding hostage visits by the International Committee of the Red Cross.”

In a meeting held on November 14 in Geneva, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, along with families of the hostages, engaged with ICRC President Spoljaric to advocate for the access of ICRC workers to the hostages in the Gaza Strip. Cohen emphasized the absence of concrete evidence regarding the well-being of the hostages, stating that Israel currently lacks any proof of their status. He urged the Red Cross to utilize all available channels to promptly visit the abductees, including children, women, and the elderly, who are being held captive by the terrorist organization Hamas.

During the meeting, Spoljaric asserted, “Hostage-taking is prohibited under international humanitarian law.” She reiterated the organization’s commitment to advocating for the release of hostages, emphasizing that they are exerting every effort to secure access to them. However, she clarified that the ICRC is unable to force its way into locations where hostages are held and can only visit them when agreements, including safe access, are established.

There are several speculations about the reason for Hamas’s refusal to let the ICRC visit the hostages. An Egyptian source told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the Hamas policy is that Israel must pay separately for every gesture, which includes the visits. Another reason could be that the remaining hostages, especially the soldiers, are dead, and Hamas wants to keep their deaths a secret to be able to use their release in future negotiations.

A third reason may be Hamas’s paranoia that any Western delegation could include an Israeli spy who would later reveal the location of the hostages.


Previous articleTemporary Ceasefire Begins in Gaza
Next articleWhat A Time I Had
David writes news at