Mothers Separated From Children: Media’s Double Standard On Alleged Truce Violations

Even as leading news agencies Reuters and Associated Press are quick to report Hamas’ questionable claims of Israeli truce violations, they turn a blind eye to Israeli complaints of a Hamas violation: the terror organization has separated families and released a child without her mother.

Hila Rotem Shoshani, 12, at right, returned to Israel Saturday night. Hamas continues to hold her mother Raya (at left) hostage in Gaza (Photo courtesy, via Times of Israel)

Thus, under the heading “Fragile Deal,” Reuters’ James Mackenzie details Hamas complaints about alleged Israeli truce violations (“Hamas, Israel release prisoners: American girl, 4, is released“):

Clashes and recriminations have threatened to torpedo the existing deal.

The killing of a Palestinian farmer in the central Gaza Strip had earlier added to those concerns. The farmer was killed when targeted by Israeli forces east of Gaza’s long-established Maghazi refugee camp, the Palestinian Red Crescent said.

The armed wing of Hamas also said on Sunday that four of its military commanders in the Gaza Strip had been killed, including the commander of the North Gaza brigade, Ahmad Al Ghandour. It did not say when they had been killed. …

Further down, the article adds more details concerning Hamas’ charges of Israeli violations.

The deal survived an earlier threat when Hamas’ armed wing said on Saturday it was delaying hostage releases until Israel met all truce conditions, including committing to let aid trucks into northern Gaza.

Saving the truce took a day of diplomacy mediated by Qatar and Egypt, which President Biden also joined.

Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades also said Israel had failed to respect terms for the release of Palestinian prisoners that factored in their time in detention.

COGAT, the Israeli agency for civilian coordination with the Palestinians, accused Hamas itself of delaying trucks trying to deliver humanitarian aid to northern Gaza at a checkpoint.

“To Hamas, residents of Gaza are their last priority,” it said on Sunday.

Qatari diplomats are now on site in Gaza to supervise the entry and delivery of their country’s aid, Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said.

Reuters, however, does not say a word about Israeli complaint that Hamas has violated the truce by releasing a child without her mother.

As Times of Israel reports (“Girl Freed From Gaza without her mom says Hamas separated them, in breach of deal“):

Hila Rotem Shoshani, a 13-year-old girl who was released from Gaza captivity overnight Saturday without her mother, Raya, told relatives that they were held hostage together until being separated two days before the release.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Hila’s uncle Yair Rotem said this contradicted Hamas claims that they did not know where Raya, 54, was — and constituted a clear violation of the truce deal, under which the Gaza terror group committed not to separate mothers from their children.

Speaking from Sheba Hospital where Hila was being examined, Yair Rotem said, “Hila returned without her mother and that is a clear violation of the agreement with Hamas. We demand from Hamas and the mediators that Raya be returned home as they agreed, immediately.”

Similarly, CNN commendably reported that an IDF spokesman complained of Hamas violating the truce agreement on keeping families together (“Israeli military spokesman claims Hamas violated deal by not releasing teenage hostage’s mother“):

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is claiming Hamas violated the terms of the truce by releasing a teenage girl without her mother.

On Saturday, 13-year-old Hila Rotem was freed without her mother Raaya Rotem despite demands from Israeli officials. 

“They were supposed to not split families, but they released a teenaged girl and they kept her mother, Raaya, in captivity,” IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus told CNN.

When the IDF asked about Hila’s mother, Hamas claimed they did not know where she is, Conricus said.

“The daughter tells us that they were together up until two days before the release,” Conricus said, adding he believes Hamas kept Raaya Rotem to maintain leverage. 

The Associated Press, for its part, has been attentive to Hamas complaints about alleged Israeli truce violations, reporting yesterday following the release of Hila without her mother (“Israel and Hamas complete second day of swaps after tense delay, as Gaza cease-fire holds“):

The late-night exchange was held up for several hours after Hamas accused Israel of violating the agreement. The delay underscored the fragility of the ceasefire, which has halted a war that has shocked and shaken Israel, caused widespread destruction across the Gaza Strip, and threatened to unleash wider fighting across the region. …

The last-minute delay created a tense standoff on the second day of what’s meant to be a four-day cease-fire. By nightfall, when hostages had been expected to emerge from Gaza, Hamas alleged that aid deliveries permitted by Israel fell short of what was promised and that not enough was reaching hard-hit northern Gaza. Hamas also said not enough longtime prisoners were freed in the first swap on Friday.

But Egypt, Qatar and Hamas itself later said the obstacles had been overcome.

About the release of Hila while her mother remains hostage, AP said only: “The mother of one of the released hostages, 12-year-old Hila Rotem, remained in captivity, the [Kibbutz Be’eri] spokesperson said.”

But Kibbutz Be’eri’s statements about the continued captivity of Raya Shoshani did not stop there. As Times of Israel reported (“Kibbutz Be’eri: Hamas ‘grossly violated’ hostage deal by releasing child without her mother“):

Kibbutz Be’eri, where 12 of the 13 hostages released last night were kidnapped from on October 7, says that while the community was “happy and excited” about the return of the hostages, Hamas violated the terms of the deal when it released 13-year-old Hila Rotem without her mother, Raya.

“Hila is returning home without her mother Raya, who remains in captivity. Hamas grossly violated the agreement, and separated mother and daughter,” the statement says, according to the Walla news site.

“Three children from two families from the kibbutz were torn from their only remaining parent,” the statement says.

Also released last night were 17-year-old Noam Or and his 13-year-old sister, Alma.

Their mother Yonat was murdered by terrorists on October 7, and their father Dror remains hostage in Gaza, along with his 18-year-old nephew Liam.

One of the terms of the agreement with the terror group, brokered by Qatar and Egypt, was that no child should be separated from their mother when released. Despite that, Hamas delayed the release of the hostages last night, claiming that in fact it was Israel that was violating the agreement.

With the scheduled 16:00 (IST) release of hostages just minutes away, reports are that Israel’s negotiations over the list of who will be released today are still ongoing. Isn’t it past time that the Associated Press and Reuters report Israeli complaints about Hamas’ violation of the deal by breaking up families? Or are only Hamas’ concerns newsworthy?

Comments are closed.