Hostage's Mother Blames All Parties for Failure

Rachel Goldberg-Polin, whose 23-year-old son Hersh was taken hostage by Hamas, calls the amount of time that has passed a "failure on everybody's part."

Hostage's Mother Blames All Parties for Failure
07 Apr 2024, 10:20 PM
twitter icon sharing
facebook icon sharing
instagram icon sharing
youtube icon sharing
telegram icon sharing
icon sharing

The mother of a 23-year-old man still being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip said it is a "failure" of global leaders and governments involved in hostage negotiations, including the United States, that has left her son and more than 130 others in captivity, as Sunday marked six months since their kidnapping.

Since Rachel Goldberg-Polin's son, Hersh, was violently abducted during the Hamas militant group's attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7, she has been at the forefront of public calls to free those who were seized and quickly hidden in Gaza while, according to Israeli authorities, about 1,200 people were killed. 

  • Transcript: Rachel Goldberg-Polin on "Face the Nation," April 7, 2024

After previously meeting with the Pope and speaking at the United Nations, and ahead of another planned engagement at the White House on Monday, Goldberg-Polin characterized the amount of time that has passed without the hostages being returned as "a complete failure" by leaders across the world. 

Recreated News

"We are feeling extreme desperation, despair," she told "Face the Nation" moderator Margaret Brennan on Sunday. "And we've had wonderful access and sympathy, and open doors and lots of hugs from everyone in the U.S. government. But this is a very binary situation."

Hersh, an Israeli-American citizen, was among about 250 people captured by militants in Israel on the day of the Oct. 7 assault, all of whom were taken by force back to the Palestinian territory. Israel's swift response to the massacre by way of a land, sea and air incursion into Gaza unfolded into the devastating current war, and although Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of his cabinet have said rescuing the hostages is their priority, less than half have been returned more than 180 days later.

Goldberg-Polin said is traveling to White House on Monday and will focus on getting answers from officials within the Biden administration as to what exactly is being done to release Hersh and the rest of the hostages who remain in Gaza. Negotiators were set to resume talks on Sunday in Cairo with the hope of brokering a cease-fire that would temporarily pause Israel's war in the enclave with the aim of freeing more people in Hamas captivity. 

"Bringing Our People Back Home"

In a passionate plea, a former Chicago resident who now resides in Israel, emphasized the urgent need to bring back hostages held by Hamas. Goldberg-Polin expressed frustration at the lack of progress in the efforts to secure the release of the hostages, including her son.

She criticized political leaders for what she sees as a failure to take decisive action to ensure the safe return of the hostages. Goldberg-Polin stressed the responsibility of parents to protect their children and lamented the inability to fulfill this duty in the current situation.

"We want our people back, period," Goldberg-Polin stated. "And that's what we're going to be talking tomorrow about, is what is actually going to be happening, what leverage, what levers need to be pulled in order to make this happen, because six months is actually a complete failure on everybody's part. And I actually include myself in that as a parent, that I have not been able to save my son."

The hostages, including U.S. citizens and individuals from other countries, have been held captive by Hamas for an extended period. Goldberg-Polin's emotional appeal underscores the deep concern and frustration felt by families awaiting the safe return of their loved ones.

Israel and Hamas Reach Deal for Temporary Ceasefire

In a recent development, Israel and Hamas have reached an agreement for a seven-day pause in the Israeli military's bombardment of Gaza. This deal also includes the release of approximately 100 hostages, predominantly women and children, and around 200 Palestinian prisoners from Israel.

However, negotiations for a longer-lasting truce have hit a roadblock as Israel's ongoing military operations have caused significant damage to critical infrastructure in Gaza, leading to the destruction of entire cities. As a result, more than 33,000 Palestinians have lost their lives, as reported by Gaza's Health Ministry and international aid agencies. The Israeli military has confirmed the deaths of over 13,000 Hamas fighters during the conflict.