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As Israel threatens to move into Rafah, Hamas releases video of two hostages


Diplomatic efforts are ramping up to try to get Hamas and Israel to agree to a hostage deal. This comes as Israel threatens to move on a city in Gaza now housing over a million people displaced by the war. Hamas is also adding pressure, releasing a video of two of its hostages, including an American. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports that family members are now pressing Israel to do what it takes to bring them home.


UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting in non-English language).

MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: There were various groups of anti-government protesters out on the streets in Tel Aviv last night. But in Hostage Square, everyone fell silent as they watched the latest video released by Hamas.


KEITH SIEGEL: (Non-English language spoken).

OMRI MIRAN: (Non-English language spoken).

KELEMEN: Two men, 64-year-old Keith Siegel and 47-year-old Omri Miran, talk about their many months in captivity and how they missed the Passover holiday with their families. That was a sign that this was filmed recently and, for many here, a welcome proof of life.

YUVAL SEGEV: He look exhausted. He was very excited when he was talking, but he looks OK.

KELEMEN: That's Yuval Segev talking about a family friend, Keith Siegel, who's American.

SEGEV: He's not young. He has a medicine that he should get, and he don't get them. It's not a celebration, but it was very optimistic moment to hear him today.

KELEMEN: Keith Siegel and his wife, Aviva, were both kidnapped on October 7, but she was among the more than 100 hostages freed during a week-long truce last November. Segev and many others gathered in Hostage Square argue that the only way Israel will get others back is through negotiations. And they're calling on Benjamin Netanyahu's government to reach a new deal with Hamas.

SEGEV: The government has one job to do, to bring all of the citizens back. This is the - Bibi Netanyahu's talking about the perfect victory. There is no victory. We already lost in this horrible day. His job is one - to bring everybody alive. And probably not everybody is alive, but everybody that can -to bring them back.

KELEMEN: An Egyptian delegation came to Israel on Friday to urge Netanyahu not to launch a threatened ground incursion in Rafah, where more than a million Palestinians are sheltering. Egypt instead is trying to negotiate a lengthy cease-fire and a deal to get all the hostages out. Hamas now says it's considering the latest proposal.

Hard-liners in Netanyahu's government say they won't agree to it and will collapse the coalition if Netanyahu makes a deal with Hamas. The father of one of the hostages who appeared in yesterday's video had a message for them.


DANI MIRAN: (Non-English language spoken).

KELEMEN: "For once, show some leadership," chanted Dani Miran, Omri's father. He also led the crowd in calling on Israel to bring all of the hostages home now.


D MIRAN: (Non-English language spoken).

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Non-English language spoken).

KELEMEN: He says, "the Israeli government has been telling everyone for seven months that it's putting pressure on Hamas, but 133 hostages are still being held in Gaza." Michele Kelemen, NPR News, Tel Aviv. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Michele Kelemen has been with NPR for two decades, starting as NPR's Moscow bureau chief and now covering the State Department and Washington's diplomatic corps. Her reports can be heard on all NPR News programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
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