Thailand Joins Others in Calling for Hamas To Release Hostages

The United States, along with 17 other nations including Thailand, issued a plea on Thursday urging Hamas to release hostages who are sick, elderly, and wounded as a means to resolve the crisis in Gaza.

These 18 countries have citizens who remain captive by Hamas, six months after the Palestinian militant group attacked southern Israel, resulting in 1,200 deaths. It is reported that eight Thais are among the hostages.

However, Hamas has reiterated its position, insisting that any deal to release the hostages must include an end to the conflict in Gaza, dismissing US pressure as ineffective, according to their spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri.

A joint statement by the 18 nations called for the immediate release of all hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, which has now surpassed 200 days, describing it as an “extraordinary display of unanimity” by a senior US official.

The leaders of the United States, Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, and the United Kingdom are the signatories of this statement.

“We emphasize that the deal on the table to release the hostages would bring an immediate and prolonged ceasefire in Gaza, that would facilitate a surge of additional necessary humanitarian assistance to be delivered throughout Gaza, and lead to the credible end of hostilities,” the statement said.

“Gazans would be able to return to their homes and their lands with preparations beforehand to ensure shelter and humanitarian provisions.”

A senior US official, briefing reporters, noted that there were some signs of a possible agreement on the hostage crisis, though he expressed uncertainty about its fruition.

He refrained from providing details but indicated that the resolution hinged on one individual: the Hamas leader, Yahya Sinwar.

Israeli officials have yet to confirm or respond to the specifics of the offer mentioned in the statement.

When queried about the dynamics of hostage diplomacy, Israeli government spokesperson David Mencer highlighted that “it is Hamas that is dragging their feet” on an agreement.

“It is Hamas that continues to walk away from the table. It is Hamas that refuses to let our people go. They must be let go right now,” he said.