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US, 17 Other Countries Urge Hamas to Release Hostages, End Gaza Crisis

A person attends a protest as they call for the immediate release of Israeli hostages held in Gaza since the deadly Oct. 7 attack on Israel by the Palestinian Islamist terrorist group Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 25, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

The United States and 17 other countries on Thursday issued an appeal for Hamas to release all of its hostages as a pathway to end the crisis in Gaza, but the Palestinian terrorist group vowed not to relent to international pressure.

“We call for the immediate release of all hostages held by Hamas in Gaza now for over 200 days,” a statement by the countries said, in what a senior US official called an extraordinary display of unanimity.

The 18 countries all have citizens held by Hamas six months after the Palestinian terrorist group launched its Oct. 7 assault on southern Israel and killed 1,200 people. Hamas is believed to still be holding 129 hostages out of the 253 it took on Oct. 7.

The signatories were the leaders of the United States, Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, and Britain.

“We emphasize that the deal on the table to release the hostages would bring an immediate and prolonged ceasefire in Gaza, that would facilitate a surge of additional necessary humanitarian assistance to be delivered throughout Gaza, and lead to the credible end of hostilities,” the statement said.

Gazans would be able to return to their homes and their lands with preparations beforehand to ensure shelter and humanitarian provisions,” it said.

Senior Hamas leader Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters that Hamas would not be influenced by the statement and said the United States needs to force Israel to end its aggression.

“The ball now is in the American court,” said Abu Zuhri.

A senior US official, briefing reporters about the statement, said there were some indications that there might be an avenue for an agreement on the hostage crisis but that he was not totally confident.

He did not elaborate but said the resolution was dependent on “one guy,” the Hamas Gaza leader, Yahya Sinwar.

The hostage proposal put forward earlier this year calls for the release of sick, elderly, and wounded hostages in Gaza in exchange for a six-week ceasefire that could be extended to allow for more humanitarian aid to be delivered into the enclave.

It permits the unrestricted return of Gaza citizens to northern Gaza, the official said.

The idea for the joint statement arose about two weeks ago when White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan met with a group of family members of Gaza hostages, the senior US official said.

It was issued a day after President Joe Biden met in the Oval Office with former hostage Abigail Edan, a four-year-old American girl who had been captured after seeing her parents slain by Hamas fighters.

She played in the Oval Office and crawled under the president’s Resolute desk, the official said.

US officials are analyzing the video of an American hostage, Hersh Golberg-Polin, that was released on Tuesday, the official said.

Israeli officials did not immediately confirm or comment on the offer detailed in the statement.

Israeli government spokesperson David Mencer told reporters when asked about hostage diplomacy that “it is Hamas that is dragging their feet” on an agreement.

“It is Hamas that continues to walk away from the table. It is Hamas that refuses to let our people go. They must be let go right now,” he said.

The post US, 17 Other Countries Urge Hamas to Release Hostages, End Gaza Crisis first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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OCAD University student is seeking $1M in damages—alleging a lack of protection from threats and abuse

Samantha Kline, 22, presented photos of antisemitic graffiti she says targeted her.

The post OCAD University student is seeking $1M in damages—alleging a lack of protection from threats and abuse appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Palestinian Islamic Jihad Releases New Propaganda Video of Israeli Hostage

Israeli hostage Alexander (Sasha) Trufanov as seen in a propaganda video released by Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Photo: Screenshot

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group on Tuesday released a short propaganda video featuring Israeli hostage Alexander (Sasha) Trufanov, 28, who was kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists during Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel.

The 30-second undated video shows Trufanov, an Amazon employee, identifying himself and saying that he will soon discuss what has happened to him and other hostages in Gaza.

Similar videos have been released by terrorists groups in Gaza. Israel has lambasted them as psychological warfare.

Trufanov’s mother said in a video released by the family that she was happy to see her son after all this time, but “it was heartbreaking” that he had been a hostage for so long.

Trufanov was an engineer at the Israeli microelectronics company Annapurna Labs, which Amazon owns.

Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists abducted over 250 people during their Oct. 7 onslaught. Trufanov was kidnapped alongside his mother, grandmother, and girlfriend.

All three were released as part of a temporary ceasefire agreement negotiated in November. His father, Vitaly Trufanov, was one of the 1,200 people killed during the Hamas massacre.

“The proof of life from Alexsander (Sasha) Trufanov is additional evidence that the Israeli government must give a significant mandate to the negotiating team,” the Hostages Families Forum, which represents the families of the hostages, said in a statement.

More than 120 hostages remain in Gaza, which is ruled by Hamas. Islamic Jihad is a separate but allied terrorist organization in the Palestinian enclave. Both are backed by Iran, which provides them with money, weapons, and training.

Negotiations brokered by Qatar, Egypt, and the US to reach a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas in Gaza have been stalled for weeks.

The post Palestinian Islamic Jihad Releases New Propaganda Video of Israeli Hostage first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Gal Gadot’s Action Movie Nabs Second Place on Netflix List of Most Watched Films in Second Half of 2023

Gal Gadot as Rachel Stone in a scene from the trailer for “Heart of Stone.” Photo: YouTube screenshot

Netflix released its engagement report that details the films with the most views from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2023, and Israeli actress Gal Gadot’s action thriller Heart of Stone secured the number two spot with 109.6 million views.

The film — starring Gadot alongside Jamie Dornan and Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt in leading roles — was the runner-up to Leave the World Behind, the drama starring Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, and Ethan Hawke that garnered 121 million views on Netflix.

Heart of Stone, directed by Tom Harper, was released on the streaming giant on Aug. 11 of last year. The action film is about international intelligence operative Rachel Stone, played by Gadot, who goes on a mission to protect an artificial intelligence system, known as The Heart, from falling in the wrong hands. The film was produced by Pilot Wave, a company founded by Gadot and her husband Jaron Varsano.

Gadot also stars in Netflix’s most popular film of all time, Red Notice, alongside Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds.

The post Gal Gadot’s Action Movie Nabs Second Place on Netflix List of Most Watched Films in Second Half of 2023 first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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