1 of 2 | Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y, meets with families of hostages held by Hamas at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Family members spoke out at a news conference hosted by Rep Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Thursday urging the United States to do everything possible to bring the hostages home. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI |
Oct. 26 (UPI) -- On Capitol Hill Thursday families of Israeli hostages held in Gaza spoke out during a Capitol Hill press conference hosted by Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md.
"The taking of hostages is a crime. In international law and the law of the United States and the law of Israel. Unfortunately there is no law in Gaza," Hoyer said as he introduced some family members of hostages. "And so we are gathered here with families who have sustained a criminal act, taking people hostage. These families of hostages are in great pain. We must excise the cancer on the body politic that is called Hamas."
Hoyer said Congress is committed to leaving no hostage behind.
Rudy Chen's son Itay Chen was abducted by Hamas.
"We have one agenda only by coming here. We represent about 220 hostages from 35 different nationalities," Chen said. "We demand not only the U.S. but all of the international community put as its highest agenda, No. 1 agenda, bringing the hostages back home."
He gave Rep. Hoyer a special dog tag to wear to remember the hostages. Hoyer put it on and hugged Chen at the podium.
"We live in this bizarre universe of not knowing if our loved one is alive, being taken care of. Where do they eat, where do they sleep," Chen added.
Noam Peri's father, Chaim Peri, was taken by Hamas.
"I got a text message from my mother saying dad has been kidnapped by terrorists. I'm alone in the safe room, can't talk. I never imagined in my life getting this message and I'm sure that you can't either," Peri said.
She said there are no words that can adequately describe the horrors of burning homes, burning families alive as Hamas attacked Israeli civilians.
"I urge you, the people of the United States, to stand by your congressmen and your senators and send them your support," Peri said. "The United States is the only one who can lead this international effort to make our loved ones come back safely."
She said she feels the overwhelming support and understanding and willingness to take leadership on this humanitarian crisis to get all the hostages back.