The Hamas terrorist organization released a video Tuesday afternoon purporting to be of Hisham a-Sayed, a Druze Israeli civilian said to be suffering from psychiatric issues who has been held captive in Gaza for years. The video shows a-Sayed connected to an oxygen tank on what looks like a hospital bed.
Hamas released the video to back up claims made on Monday evening by Abu Obeida, a spokesman for Hamas’ Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades military wing, who said that the health situation of one of the Israeli prisoners held in the Gaza Strip has deteriorated.
The Israeli prime minister’s office released a statement in response to the news, saying, “Hamas is holding two mentally disabled Israeli citizens who are ill and suffering, in complete contravention of international law. Distributing a video of an ill person is abhorrent and deplorable.
“The State of Israel holds Hamas responsible for the medical state of the captive civilians,” the statement said.
“Hamas is also holding the bodies of two IDF soldiers, the late Hadar Godin and the late Oron Shaul, also in contravention of international law,” the PMO added.
“Hisham E-Said is not a soldier but a mentally disabled Israeli civilian who had previously crossed the border to the Gaza Strip several times. It is Hamas that is delaying any chance of a deal. The actions of Hamas prove that it is a cynical and reprehensible terrorist organization,” the statement said.
“The State of Israel will continue its constant, responsible and determined efforts to bring the captives and missing back home.”
Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid also released a segment in response to the video saying that Israel considers Hamas to be directly responsible for the welfare of its citizens held captive by the group.
“These are two mentally ill and holding them captive for years is an act of inconceivable cruelty,” said Lapid. “Hamas also holds the bodies of two IDF soldiers, the late Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, while trampling on all boundaries of morality and international law.”
Lapid called on the international community, including the World Health Organization, the International Committee of the Red Cross and organizations dealing with the mentally ill, to condemn Hamas for its inhumane behavior and demand that it act in accordance with international law and release the civilians that it holds.
The Foreign Minister also pledged that the State of Israel will continue to make every effort to bring back the IDF soldiers and Israeli citizens who are being held hostage by Hamas.
Israeli officials added that Hamas is “responsible for the state of the captured civilians” and it will “continue its efforts, mediated by Egypt, to bring home the captives and the missing, with responsibility and determination.”
In a statement responding to the release of the video, Hisham’s family told Israel’s Kan 11 News, “Hamas is playing on people’s emotions. It is abusing human beings. They present him as a soldier as if they managed to strike and commit some act of heroism. According to the publication, it is impossible to know if he is alive.”