The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today helped facilitate the release of two hostages, transporting them from Gaza to Israel in its role as a neutral actor between the warring parties.

ICRC president Mirjana Spoljaric says: “The release of two hostages in Gaza today is a sliver of hope. We are extremely relieved that they can now be reunited after two weeks of agony, and we continue to urge for action to protect and alleviate the suffering of all civilians affected by this devastating conflict.”

The ICRC continues to call for the immediate release of all hostages. We are ready to visit the remaining hostages and to facilitate any future release following an agreement reached by the parties. While held in captivity, hostages must be allowed to receive humanitarian assistance and medical care. They must be given the opportunity to contact their families. Families separated from their loved ones endure agony no matter what side of the divide they are on. Our commitment to helping people who have been kidnapped, detained, or missing is unyielding.

It is essential that warring parties maintain a minimum of humanity even during the worst of war. People in Gaza cannot be kept waiting for desperately needed aid. Hospitals are on the verge of collapse, and families are sleeping in the open with little food and water. We urgently call for a pause in the fighting and for humanitarian aid and first responders to be allowed in. Every hour that passes without increased assistance means more misery and suffering.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a neutral, impartial, and independent organization with an exclusively humanitarian mandate that stems from the Geneva Conventions of 1949. It helps people around the world affected by armed conflict and other violence, doing everything it can to protect their lives and dignity and to relieve their suffering, often alongside its Red Cross and Red Crescent partners

In Israel and the occupied territories, the ICRC strives to make a difference in people’s lives through its activities and programmes. We visit detainees, reunite families, support livelihood projects, and help improve access to essential services, like water and electricity. Above all, we stand up for people and promote their rights and dignity.

We have been present in Israel and the occupied territories since 1967 and work with the Palestine Red Crescent Society and Magen David Adom in Israel. The ICRC has offices in Tel Aviv, in the West Bank, including East-Jerusalem and Gaza.