Daily News Portal

Israel and Hamas trade ceasefire accusations as more prisoners and hostages are released —

Reporting by Bridget McArthur

The sister of a 16-year-old boy currently being held hostage by Hamas says her mother’s last words to him were a promise: “we will get you out.”

“[My brother] Amit was already in the car. He was not looking at her. He was looking straight. He was trying to be calm in his reaction to calm her,” 18-year-old Mika Shani said.

A girl in a black suit holding a read sign with an image of a boy on it with two cardboard cutouts of silhouette of children behind her
18-year-old Mika Shani, sister of 16-year-old Amit Shani, who is being held hostage by Hamas.(ABC News: Bridget McArthur)

Mika was one of dozens of friends and families of murdered and captured Israelis who shared their experiences in Victorian parliament today, surrounded by the cardboard silhouettes of their loved ones missing and dead — part of an installation by the ‘Bring Them Home Now’ campaign group.

They called for all remaining hostages to be released, and for more information.

Two men wearing black suits holding up papers with a womas picture
Ofir Tamir and Amit Parpara are both friends of Noa Argamani, who was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists while she was at a music festival on October 7(ABC News: Bridget McArthur)

“A lot of people are asking me if there are any updates on Noa,” said Amit Parpara, a friend of Noa Argamani, who was kidnapped by Hamas while she was at a music festival on October 7.

“If they’re dead or alive, if they need medical care, even if they’re living safe, we need this information. Without it we’re dying ourselves.”

A hallway corridor with red carpet and white walls lines with two dozen silhouette carboard cutouts lined along the side
The ‘Bring Them Home Now’ installation represents the silhouettes of 240 hostages captured by Hamas on October 7.(ABC News: Bridget McArthur)

Mika said she was worried Amit would have no home to return to when he was freed, as most of the houses in her kibbutz were burnt, including her own.

But for some the hope of a return has been quashed. Elad Levy’s 19-year-old niece Roni Eshel was listed as missing for 34 days, presumed kidnapped, before it was revealed he’d been murdered by Hamas on October 7.

Tali Kizhner’s 22-year-old son Segev Kizhner was also murdered. She told those at parliament that she must now focus on raising her remaining two children, and hopes they can live “in peace and have a long and happy life.”

Four people wearing black and holding signs standing near a podium with israeli flags and carboard cutout silhouettes
Left to right: The mother of 28-year-old hostage Yotam Haim, Labor MP Paul Hamer, Liberal MP David Southwick, and Tal Kizhner, mother of 22-year-old Segev Kizhner who was killed.(ABC News: Bridget McArthur)

Several politicians took turns to stand by the friends and family members, and their loved ones in absentia, to demonstrate their support — both for them individually, and for Israel.

“We will not forget them and we will continue to stand with you side by side,” said Victorian opposition leader John Pesutto. “You are not alone.”

Read More:Israel and Hamas trade ceasefire accusations as more prisoners and hostages are released —