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Hamas Drugged Freed Hostages to Make Them ‘Look Happy,’ Israel’s Health Ministry Says

Hostages who were abducted by Hamas terrorists during the Oct. 7 attack on Israel are handed over by Hamas terrorists to members of the International Committee of the Red Cross, as part of a hostages-prisoners swap deal between Hamas and Israel amid a temporary truce, in an unknown location in the Gaza Strip, in this screengrab taken from video released Nov. 27, 2023. Photo: Hamas Military Wing/Handout via REUTERS

Hamas drugged hostages seized from Israel during the terror group’s Oct. 7 massacre as they were being released “so that they would look happy” to the outside world, according to Israel’s Health Ministry.

Dr. Hagar Mizrahi, head of the ministry’s general medicine division, told Israeli lawmakers on Tuesday that Hamas terrorists gave tranquilizer pills to the captives who were set to be freed from captivity in Gaza as part of a temporary ceasefire deal in order to make them appear calm and happy.

Speaking to the Health Committee of Israel’s parliament, known as the Knesset, Mizrahi specifically named the drug Clonazepam. The drug — known as Clonex in Israel and sold under the brand names Klonopin and Rivotril elsewhere — is used to prevent and treat various mental health issues, including bipolar mania and anxiety disorders.

Mizrahi did not disclose whether the drugging had been confirmed by the testimony of freed hostages, blood tests done on the released hostages at Israeli hospitals, or both.

Israel has decried clips of Israeli hostages waving goodbye to Hamas terrorists during their release as propaganda, urging the public not to buy the forced act. Hamas-affiliated media even released a letter supposedly written by Danielle Aloni, an Israeli mom freed from captivity, praising the terrorists for their “extraordinary humanity” towards her 5-year-old daughter, Emilia. Relatives warned the public not to believe the letter, similarly dismissing it as propaganda.

Mizrahi’s testimony came amid a flurry of recent reports highlighting the trauma and torture — both physical and psychological — that the hostages endured.

Last week, for example, the aunt of a 12-year-old boy who was released from captivity in Gaza revealed disturbing details of threats and psychological abuse inflicted on her nephew by Hamas terrorists. Beyond physical abuse, child hostages were forced to watch the Oct. 7 massacre — in which Hamas-led terrorists murdered over 1,200 people across southern Israel and took more than 240 hostages — on film in silence, and any cries they made resulted in threats at gunpoint.

Dozens of the hostages, who included the elderly and young children, were recently released as part of a temporary week-long ceasefire and hostage-prisoner swap deal between Israel and Hamas. The arrangement ended on Friday when both sides could not reach an agreement to extend the truce.

Israeli health authorities have examined the freed hostages and found they suffered severe weight loss during their captivity in Gaza, the Palestinian enclave ruled by Hamas.

On Tuesday, Mizrahi highlighted the cruel treatment that the hostages suffered at the hands of the terror group.

“In the hospitals, forensic doctors documented the war crimes left on the returnees” Mizrahi told Israeli lawmakers. “Some of the crimes are starvation, lack of medical treatment, and prolonged shackles.”

The Health Ministry representative added: “War crimes were also documented, the main of which was the lack of adequate medical treatment. There was certainly evidence of this. There were cases of poor feeding that I ask not to expand on — not only because of the secrecy but also because of the meaning it has on the people who are there.”

Israeli hospitals have been working to document the medical condition of released hostages to paint a clearer picture of the atrocities inflicted on them — and what those still in captivity may be enduring.

Relatives of those still being held hostage have pleaded with the Israeli government to do more to bring their loved ones home. Yarden Gonen, whose sister Romi is among those still captive, described the pain of the situation. “I think about it every day that she is there,” Gonen said. “She lives knowing that her soulmate is being murdered in front of her eyes. Someone lost their soulmate in front of their eyes? How do we leave them there? I have no words to emphasize how much we cannot contain it anymore.”

There are still well over 100 hostages being held by Hamas and other Palestinian terrorists in Gaza, many of whom are the fathers, brothers, and relatives of those already released. Only women and children were freed under the terms of the ceasefire agreement.

While most reports have focused on the hostages’ physical health, it is unclear how captivity will impact their mental health after experiencing such trauma.

Thomas Hand, the father of nine-year-old Emily Hand who was released by Hamas during the ceasefire, revealed last week that his daughter initially cried herself to sleep and spoke in a whisper because she was conditioned in captivity not to make any noise.

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Gallant: Seizing Internal Hamas Documents Brings Hostage Deal Closer

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant meeting with IDF commanders, including members of the elite Shayetet 13 marine commando unit, in Atlit, Israel, Jan. 17, 2023. Photo: Ariel Hermoni (Israel’s Ministry of Defense)

i24 NewsIsraeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant provided a review to fellow ministers of weapons and documents belonging to Hamas, which were collected by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Document and Technical Means Collection Unit (Amshat) operating in the Gaza Strip.

“This morning we are hosting the government meeting at the IDF, in the defense establishment, to show the ministers exactly how we are achieving and deepening our achievements and what is coming out of the Gaza Strip,” Gallant explained.

“You can see a small part of the things here – missiles, explosive charges, mines, a great many maps, means of communication, documents, computers, drives, all these things which the IDF uses now on as intelligence, and not only that,” the defense minister continued.

“These demonstrate that we penetrated into the heart of the most sensitive places of Hamas and use their intelligence against them,” Gallant described the process of attaining the documents and weapons, hinting at some of the locations from where it was found.

“We are using their weapons against them, detonating them in the field, all this leads to the consequence of deepening and penetrating the heart of Hamas’ capabilities,” the defense minister said.

“The more we deepen our operations, the closer we get to a realistic deal in order to return the hostages,” Gallant concluded.

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UNRWA Chief Urged to Resign After ‘Absurd’ Pledge of Ignorance

View of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) building in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash90.

i24 NewsIsraeli diplomatic leaders called for the resignation of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) Commissioner-General, Philippe Lazzarini, following denial of knowing about a Hamas data center under the agency’s headquarters in Gaza.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) revealed on Saturday night that Hamas built a vast network of tunnels under the UNRWA headquarters, with a base directly underneath that was even hooked up to its grid.

“The exposure of UNRWA’s Gaza headquarters’ deep involvement with Hamas, including its use for terror activities and as an access point to terror tunnels, requires immediate action,” the Israeli foreign minister, Israel Katz, posted on X.

“Philippe Lazzarini’s claim of unawareness is not only absurd but also an affront to common sense. His prompt resignation is imperative,” Katz concluded.

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, also called for the UNRWA Commissioner-General to resign, responding “it’s not that you didn’t know, it’s that you didn’t WANT to know.”

“We exposed terror tunnels under UNRWA schools and supplied evidence that Hamas’ exploits UNRWA. We implored you to carry out a comprehensive search of all UNRWA facilities in Gaza. But not only did you refuse, you chose to stick your head in the sand,” Erdan added in a detailed post on X.

.@UNLazzarini it’s not that you didn’t know, it’s that you didn’t WANT to know. We exposed terror tunnels under UNRWA schools and supplied evidence that Hamas’ exploits UNRWA. We implored you to carry out a comprehensive search of all UNRWA facilities in Gaza. But not only did…

— Ambassador Gilad Erdan גלעד ארדן (@giladerdan1) February 10, 2024

“Take responsibility and resign today!” the Israeli ambassador said, “Every day we find more proof that in Gaza the UN=Hamas and vice versa. Anything the UN says or claims about Gaza cannot be trusted.”

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Preparing for the Next ICJ Debacle

The UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ). Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.orgIn the theater of the absurd commonly known as the International Court of Justice, judges are again preparing to ignore history and facts. Having weaponized the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide against the Jewish state, the judges are now preparing to hear oral arguments on the next oxymoron: The “legal consequences” of the “Israeli occupation” of “Palestinian territory.”

The glaring problem with this is that there is no such entity as the “Palestinian territories.” The term is an invented one used to define areas allocated by the international community to the Jewish state, which were then illegally invaded by Egypt and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Any discussion anchored on this false terminology should immediately be ignored and scorned.

In December 2022, the United Nations General Assembly, prompted by the Palestinian Authority, adopted a resolution to request from the ICJ an advisory opinion on the following question:

“Considering the rules and principles of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, international humanitarian law, international human rights law, relevant resolutions of the Security Council, the General Assembly, and the Human Rights Council, and the advisory opinion of the Court of July 9, 2004:

“a) What are the legal consequences arising from the ongoing violation by Israel of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, from its prolonged occupation, settlement, and annexation of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character, and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures?

“b) How do the policies and practices of Israel referred to in paragraph 18 (a) above affect the legal status of the occupation, and what are the legal consequences that arise for all States and the United Nations from this status?”

Following the request, the ICJ set a July 25, 2023 deadline for initial written statements to be submitted, with responses to be submitted by Oct. 25, 2023 and oral arguments to be made starting Feb. 19, 2024.

The underlying assumption of this debacle is that Israel is in some way “occupying” “Palestinian territory.” But is that really the case?

In reality, never in history has an independent country called “Palestine” ever existed.

In reality, the area the UNGA claims and has asked the ICJ to consider as “Palestinian territory” was controlled for 400 years by the Ottoman Empire.

In reality, after World War I, the international community repeatedly allocated the entire area from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, from Lebanon to the Red Sea, for the sole purpose of reconstituting the Jewish homeland.

In reality, the 1923 division of the geographical area called “Palestine” into two separate areas, one to be called the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the other remaining Jewish Palestine, was the real “two-state solution.”

In reality, in 1947, the United Nations offered the Arabs an opportunity to create another Arab country to the west of the Jordan River alongside Israel, but the Arabs refused. Instead, five Arab armies attacked the nascent Jewish state with the stated and express goal of throwing the Jews into the sea.

From 1948 to 1967, Egypt controlled the Gaza Strip and Jordan controlled Judea and Samaria, which it renamed “The West Bank.” During that time, no U.N. resolution of the General Assembly or the Security Council demanded that Egypt and Jordan retreat and desist from occupying those areas. No such request was made of Jordan since Jordan saw Palestine as an integral part of Jordan.

In reality, even U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, from November 1967, does not mention, even once, the notion of occupied “Palestinian” territory.

In fact, the idea that a State of Palestine ever existed and that Israel is occupying “Palestinian territory” seems to prove the billboard advertisement that “Palestine” is the only country in the world that did not exist before it was “occupied.”

Sadly, as the judges demonstrated with their shameful decision on the false claim of South Africa against Israel when it comes to the Jewish state, history, facts and the truth are just not relevant.

Originally published by The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

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