NEW YORK (PIX11) — Israel Foreign Minister Eli Cohen on Tuesday struggled to be heard over jeers from a crowd outside the United Nations headquarters letting him know more should be done to free the Israelis who were taken hostage during Hamas’ surprise military offensive on Oct. 7.
“These hostages need to be back yesterday. Not tomorrow. Yesterday,” said Ronen Neutra, whose son is being held hostage by Hamas.
Meanwhile, Palestinian media outlets reported large crowds are demanding the fair treatment and release of Palestinian prisoners held by the Israeli government.
“Since the beginning of the war, it has been impossible to communicate with the prisoners. The prisons are very difficult, as the prisoners’ televisions, blankets, and even the tools they used for cooking have been confiscated,” said Maysoon Shawamreh, whose four sons are currently being held in Israeli jails.
On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for more humanitarian consideration in the Israel-Gaza crisis during a U.N. session.
“Civilians must be able to get out of harm’s way. It means humanitarian pauses must be considered for these purposes,” said Blinken.
During the same session, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres called for historical context in debating this conflict.
“It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum. The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation,” said Guterres.
Ambassador Gilad Erdan, the permanent representative of Israel to the U.N., offered a pointed response to Guterres’ remarks.
“The U.N. sadly, tragically, is failing. The U.N. and its leader, the secretary-general, have lost all morality and impartiality,” said Erdan.
Outside the U.N., an Israeli family member whose son is being held hostage by Hamas was thankful for the crowd’s support.
“It gives me strength to keep on doing what I’m doing,” said Ruby Chen.