Israeli Ambassador Erdan Addresses Belated United Nations Security Council Meeting on Hostages

By Hamodia Staff

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan delivering a speech to the first Security Council meeting devoted to the condition of the hostages taken by the Hamas terrorist organization, May 16, 2024 in New York City. (United Nations)

It took over seven months after the October 7th massacre for the United Nations Security Council to have a meeting devoted to the condition of the Hostages taken by the Hamas terrorist organization and to seek action to achieve their release, and when it finally took place on Thursday, May 16, the Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan delivered a blistering speech denouncing the Security Council for its inaction for over half a year.

Ambassador Erdan said, “In the past 32 weeks since October 7th, the Security Council and the UN have done practically nothing to secure the release of the hostages. It is heartbreaking and amoral.

“It’s important to issue ‘calls’ to release the hostages, but I ask you honestly: do you think this has any real impact on Hamas?… The hostages are the most urgent and critical humanitarian issue that the Council must focus on.”

He decried how the hostages are enduring beatings, torture, and violence, and those in need of medication are being deprived, and some who are suffering from mental illness are languishing.

“How can you call for a ceasefire before you’ve done everything possible to bring the innocents home?…If the Council truly wants this war to end, then bringing the hostages home should be the top priority!” he said in his speech criticizing the council.

Ayelet Samerano, the mother of the late hostage Jonathan Samerano, Dr. Shoshan Haran, who was kidnapped and later released, and Gili Roman, whose family member Carmel Gat was kidnapped by Hamas and remains in captivity, were presented to the body by the Israeli ambassador.

Shoshan Haran, who was taken captive by Hamas along with her daughter and two grandchildren, recalled the effects of 50 days in captivity on her three-year-old granddaughter when they were finally released.

“Three weeks after we were released, Yahel only whispers, too afraid to make a noise. She hid from everyone, too afraid to go outside. She wet the bed and had nightmares, too afraid she may be captured again,” Haran told the informal U.N. Security Council meeting.

Ambassador Erdan harshly criticized the Council for its silence regarding the hostages, “International pressure may have an impact on Hamas, but what pressure have you applied on the terrorists? Look Shoshan, Ayelet, and Gili in the eyes and give them an answer! Has the Council condemned Hamas and demanded they permit the Red Cross to check on the hostages? Have you imposed sanctions on Hamas leadership until they release the hostages? What action has been taken?”

“The reason the war started was not because of the humanitarian situation in Gaza. There was a ceasefire on October 6th. The reason this war started was because Hamas took our loved ones hostage and refused to release them, Erdan said. “Kidnapping the hostages is why this war began and the hostages are why this war continues! If the Council truly wants this war to end, then bringing the hostages home should be the top priority!”

Ambassador Erdan emphasized the danger silence and inaction regarding Israeli hostages will have across the world, “This inaction may lead to a catastrophic precedent that will incentivize rogue entities to kidnap civilians. This will not be the first time that Palestinian terrorists inspire other terror groups. Plane hijackings were first carried out by Palestinian terrorists and then became a global phenomenon. The same can be said of the targeting of nightclubs and revelers. They were first carried out against Israelis by Palestinians before being adopted by other terrorists.”

Finally, Ambassador Erdan urged the Council to immediately take action that will lead to the release of the hostages, “Hamas can be designated as a terror organization. Formal weekly meetings should be held focused on ensuring the release of the hostages. Resolutions can be passed condemning Hamas and demanding that the International Red Cross visit those in captivity.”

“If the spotlight is finally shined on the suffering of the hostages, if concrete action is taken, then a clear message will be sent to terrorists worldwide: taking civilians hostage will never be tolerated!…Think about what your countries would do if 132 of your citizens were being held hostage by terrorists. What measures would you take?”

Noticeably absent from the meeting was Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the Secretary General, who withdrew from a slated appearance before the informal Security Council meeting. Times of Israel reported that a diplomat confirmed that her withdrawal was not due to a scheduling conflict, but was political so as not to appear as if she was “prioritizing the plight of the Israeli hostages over that of the Palestinians caught in the middle of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza.”

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