November 21, 2023 — New York, NY
American Jewish Committee (AJC) welcomes today’s announcement of an agreement brokered by the United States, with assistance from Qatar and Egypt, for the release of 50 of the hostages abducted by Hamas and other terrorists from southern Israel on October 7.
AJC is relieved that these hostages are slated to be returned home and deeply appreciates the role of President Biden and his administration, and other world partners, in securing their release.
The work to free every hostage – irrespective of age, gender, or nationality – cannot stop. The global community must continue efforts to ensure that every single hostage will be reunited with their loved ones and ensure that this humanitarian issue remains at the forefront of all global efforts in the region.
Since October 7, Hamas has egregiously defied international law by refusing to grant the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and relevant UN bodies any access to the hostages, leaving too many families wondering if their loved ones are receiving necessary medical care or even alive. A number of hostages are suffering from potentially fatal wounds and others have life-threatening medical conditions. We are comforted by the news that, per this agreement, Hamas will finally allow the ICRC to access the hostages and administer medical care. The international community must insist on full transparency and accountability to ensure that Hamas abides by the terms of today’s agreement and does not use this truce to rearm and regroup.
This war cannot end until every hostage is returned home. Israel has every right to defend itself, disarm Hamas, and end the group’s rule over Gaza – so that the Iranian-backed terror organization cannot, as its leaders have promised, carry out a “second, a third, a fourth” attack in their stated pursuit of killing Jews and eliminating Israel.
We thank President Biden and his administration for their unwavering support of Israel since October 7, pressing the issue of the hostages, providing military assistance to help Israel fight Hamas and deter future aggression, and pushing back against anti-Israel statements in the media and on the world stage.
AJC has worked closely with families of hostages to facilitate meetings with community and government leaders in the United States and around the world on the urgent need to bring home every single person kidnapped on October 7. During visits to Washington, D.C., New York, Miami, and other cities in the United States, AJC has assisted 24 families whose loved ones are held hostage in sharing their stories with decision-makers. These stories have been shared with more than 75 members of Congress, multiple national media outlets, the State Department, high-level administration officials (including the Vice President), diplomats, the ICRC, UN officials, Jewish communities, and other relevant parties.
AJC has also utilized our entire network of 14 overseas posts to mobilize the international community to push for the release of every hostage taken on October 7 – many of whom are dual nationals. AJC has facilitated meetings for family members of hostages in Brussels, Paris, and Rome.
Through AJC’s 25 offices across the U.S., AJC supporters have sent more than 200,000 messages urging Congressional and UN officials to demand the release of all the hostages.
AJC is the global advocacy organization for the Jewish people. With headquarters in New York, 25 offices across the United States, 14 overseas posts, as well as partnerships with 38 Jewish community organizations worldwide, AJC’s mission is to enhance the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel, and to advance human rights and democratic values in the United States and around the world. For more, please visit www.ajc.org.