How an Israeli hostage in Gaza told stories while in captivity

The first killings of a Palestinian man in a kibbutz: Har’s partner’s niece told him about the enigmatic rescue

Every evening, it would grow dark before the guards turned on the light, and the captives had a ritual: Har’s partner’s niece would ask him to tell a story. He’d discuss dance because he’s a folk dancer. He acts in musical theater. He drew on his experiences and did his best to amuse his loved ones.

During the rescue raid, the Israeli military carried out large-scale airstrikes in Rafah as a diversion to provide cover to the special forces. More than 70 Palestinian men, women and children were killed in those strikes, and more than 33,000 Palestinians have been killed since the war began, according to Gaza health officials.

Originally from Argentina, he lived in a kibbutz near the Gaza border. He was in a family with his partner and siblings. As the rocket fire intensified, they turned on the TV and watched coverage of Hamas attackers entering towns and kibbutz communities nearby.

“We all gathered in the safe room and we said, a few minutes and we’ll get out,” he says. “We heard breaking glass and pounding at the door.” Suddenly, we heard Arabic. They broke into the house … We were in total shock.”

Armed men forced all five of them onto the back of a pickup truck, making them sit on a pile of weapons. They were driven away and led on foot through a tunnel for hours. In Gaza they climbed up a ladder.

Har says they were moved from one home to another, and eventually brought to an apartment, where they were all kept in one room. Four armed men guarded them. The man’s partner’s niece had brought her dog.

“One of the guards fixated on her and would tell the girl all the time he wanted to marry her,” he recalls. “And we told her to turn around, to pretend she was sleeping. They couldn’t hear the tears because she was very tense and stressed. We tried to calm her down. We didn’t say it out loud, but each one of us, within ourselves, was worried.”

The captives didn’t have a good source of entertainment. Their captors would tell them bits and pieces about the war, like when the Israeli army mistakenly killed three other hostages. It was true, but they didn’t know whether to believe what they were told.

Argentines are Up in Arms against the Killers and the Rescue of the Palestinians in the Rescue Rescuing Their Killers

“Once, we were in a show. And one of the girls lifted her leg, and her shoe flew off her foot. It did this when it was in the air, boom, and hit the audience. We burst out laughing,” he says. Stories and funny things pass the time.

“Every time we fell into depression, we overcame it with stories. We started to say, where are we going to travel to today in our minds? So today we are in Argentina. We’re doing that as well.

When asked about Palestinians killed in the rescue raid, Har said he didn’t know. “I don’t know about it.” “It’s not my thing.” The military can answer your questions. Most of the people are from Hamas. They don’t intend to pet us and to love us, and I have no mercy toward them at the moment.”

“An exchange,” Har says. Our people are up in arms against their murderers. Because even if they’re murderers, the main thing is to return all the hostages to their homes. They need to be here to receive treatment.

Elad Katzir: Israeli Hosts, Israeli Promises, and What Has Israel Done? Palestinian Human Rights Defenders Report Palestinian Violence in Gaza

The Israeli military said it recovered the body of Elad Katzir, who was kidnapped in October. Hamas attacked Israel and held them captive in Gaza.

About 50 people were killed, including Katzir’s father, and 77 were abducted, including Katzir’s mother. She was later released alive on Nov. 24 as part of a temporary cease-fire deal.

She also expressed frustration with the Israeli government, who she accused of not doing enough to secure his freedom and that of the other Israeli hostages as quickly as possible.

She added that her brother protested weekly with the families of Israeli soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, who were taken during Israel’s 2014 war in Gaza. He would often say, “We can’t give up on them,” Carmit Palty recalled.

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