Two elderly Israeli women who were held as prisoners of war (PoW) by Hamas in Gaza have been released. The Palestinian organisation and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) confirmed that 85-year-old Yocheved Lifshitz and 79-year-old Nurit Yitzhak were handed over to Egyptian authorities on Monday.
In a statement, the ICRC said,
“We facilitated the release of 2 more hostages, transporting them out of Gaza this evening.
“Our role as a neutral intermediary makes this work possible & we are ready to facilitate any future release. We hope that they will soon be back with their loved ones.” 
A spokesperson for the armed wing of Hamas also announced the development on the group’s Telegram channel.
They revealed that the release was made possible thanks to mediation efforts by Qatar and Egypt and that it was primarily for humanitarian reasons.
“We in the al-Qassam Brigades, through Egyptian mediation, released two detainees, Nurit Yitzhak and Yocheved Lifshitz, knowing that the enemy has refused since last Friday to accept their receipt, and is still neglecting the file of its prisoners.
“We have decided to release them for compelling humanitarian and satisfactory reasons, despite the occupation committing more than 8 violations of the procedures that were agreed upon with the mediator brothers that the occupation would adhere to during this day to complete the handover process.” 
This latest development follows the previous release of two PoW, US citizens Judith Raanan and her daughter Natalie, last week following mediation efforts by Qatar. 
“They took care of them … they were treated well”
In video footage aired by Sky News, The Guardian, and others, Hamas fighters could be seen gently assisting the elderly women and escorting them to the ICRC ambulance.
During the handover, Lifshitz could be seen turning around to say goodbye and shake the hands of one fighter. 
As for the food provided during her detention, she said,
“They gave us pitta bread, hard cheese, some low-fat cream cheese and cucumber and that was our food for the entire day.” 
Sharone Lifshitz, daughter of Yocheved who was quizzed by journalists on why she shook the hands of her captors, explained her mother’s actions:
“They [Hamas] were very friendly towards them [the PoW], and they took care of them. They were given medicines, and they were treated well.
“One of the (PoW) men were badly injured in a motorbike accident on the way and the paramedics were looking after his wounds, he was given medicine and antibiotics.
“The people were very friendly, and the place was kept very clean.” 
IDF allegedly ignored warnings from Hamas
Lifshitz criticised the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and said they did not take the threat of Hamas seriously enough before their dawn raids on 7 October.
She claimed that the resistance group had sent a warning weeks before, dropping “balloons with fire and burning our fields. The IDF didn’t take that seriously.” 
It is worth noting that Hamas had previously offered to free two additional captives alongside Judith and Natalie during their release. However, this offer was rebuffed by Israeli authorities, who incredibly referred to the claim as propaganda.
Do not forget all the Palestinian prisoners of war since 1967
Over 5,200 individuals, including 33 women and 170 children, continue to endure abhorrent conditions that strip them of their most basic needs.
But these are not mere numbers; they represent lives trapped in a system of repression, a system that has “arrested” more than one million Palestinians in one form or another since 1967.
The harrowing ordeal of these prisoners is defined by endless torment, as hours turn into days spent in solitary confinement, where individuals endure arbitrary beatings, stripping, psychological abuse, and a profound sense of degradation.
Skyrocketing number of Palestinian hostages since early October 2023
Over a thousand Palestinians continue to face what is euphemistically called “administrative detention”, a form of captivity where individuals are held without charge or trial.
These prisoners are, in essence, hostages plucked from their families and homes, with no apparent reason for their arrest.
And since 7 October, the number of Palestinian hostages has surged to over 10,000. Stories are emerging, such as that of Omar Daraghmeh, who was beaten to death. The Zionists have used Gaza as the venue to do so without recrimination.
Israel’s onslaught continues unabated
Israel’s barbarous and indiscriminate bombings of Gaza reveals a total disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians.
This includes cutting off access to essential supplies like food, water, fuel, and electricity to Gaza’s 2.3 million residents as part of a relentless campaign of airstrikes, which has left entire neighbourhoods in ruins and pushed humanitarian conditions to the brink.
Hospitals are already out of fuel with doctors resorting to the use of smartphone torches to conduct emergency surgeries and operations. Paediatric unit incubators are also on the brink of collapse, threatening the lives of many babies.
The IDF have indiscriminately targeted civilian shelters protecting refugees and displaced people. Last week, an airstrike targeted the al-Ahli Baptist Hospital, killing between 300-500 civilians. Many were children and injured civilians.
A few days after al-Ahli hospital was struck, the IDF targeted the 12th century Greek Orthodox St Porphyrios Church in Gaza City, resulting in the deaths and injuries of many civilians.
The gruesome death toll on Palestinian lives continues to mount, with over 5,700 civilians killed in the latest Israeli onslaught.
In the midst of this ongoing crisis, efforts to secure the release of prisoners of war are a glimmer of hope that signifies the potential for dialogue and peace in the region. The examples of Yocheved Lifshitz and Nurit Yitzhak are proof that the mainstream media narrative is far from the reality being forced down our throats.
Amid the relentless bombardment and massacre in Gaza, where the total of those murdered or trapped under rubble, the majority of whom are women and children, exceeds those annihilated in Srebrenica in 1995, stories of benevolence are emerging from the most unlikely of places.
One such account is that of Yocheved Lifshitz, a peace activist from Nir Oz, who was released from Gaza, bearing witness to an entirely different narrative than the one often painted by the powerful propaganda machine fuelled with millions of dollars!
Ms. Lifshitz’s experience in captivity defies the stereotype of her captors. She has spoken of the care given to the health of hostages, where medication, shampoo, and feminine hygiene products were provided. The prisoners were fed the same meagre rations as their guards, a stark illustration of the grim reality.
In her words,
'They were very attentive to the sanitary aspect, so we don’t get sick on them, God forbid. There was a doctor nearby who would come every two or three days to check on us. And the medic took the responsibility to bring us medication. If they did not have the exact same medication, they brought us the equivalent.'
In a video capturing her handover to the International Committee of the Red Cross, she can be seen grasping a Hamas member’s hand and saying the Hebrew word 'shalom', meaning 'goodbye and peace'.
What a contrast to the actions and the callous remarks of figures like Ghassan Alian, the Major General of the Israeli Army, who referred to Palestinians as 'animal humans', and Daniel Harai, the Israeli Army Spokesman, who emphasised that their focus was on 'destruction, not accuracy'!
As the world watches this brazen massacre continue, with Western democracies cheerleading the slaughter, the Zionists would do well in learning morality from the Gazans.
- A duty to confront injustice as silence is betrayal
- Western state media in disinformation drive to justify Gaza genocide
- Dr. Ali Muhammad al-Sallabi writes to US and allies on Gaza genocide