Avera Mengistu’s mother plead with Hamas to release her son in a video the family successfully sent to his Gaza captors two years ago with the help of Physicians for Human Rights.
The family released the video on Wednesday night as part of their campaign to free Avera, 29, who has been held in Gaza for the last four years.
Physicians for Human Rights said they were informed by sources that Hamas received the video and that Avera had seen it, but that they could not corroborate if the latter was true.
“I have been crying day and night,” Mengistu’s mother Ager-nesh said in Amharic on the video. Her words were translated into Hebrew and Arabic text.
“I want to see him,” Agernesh said, as she sat on a blue sofa.
Avera, who suffers from a mental-health disorder is believed to have wandered into Gaza by accident in September 2014. Physicians for Human Rights also passed documents to Hamas attesting to illness.
“How is that the hearts of Hamas members have not been moved,” she said.
“He hasn’t seen a doctor or received the appropriate treatment, Ager-nesh claimed.
“I am pleading with Hamas members. Show him to me, release him to me,” she said.
Her son Ilan, who also spoke on the video, told Hamas that the family lacked the support of the government and the Israeli public.
Worse, he said, “the public is against us. They tell us to our face, what do you want from the state? They say, he didn’t serve in the army, he hasn’t contributed anything and he went there of his own will, so he should die there. Yes, those are the painful words we hear every day.”
Ilan told Hamas he had no choice but to appeal to their mercy in his name, the name of his family and that of the Islamic religion.
The family was wracked with “worry and pain and had broken hearts,” Ilan said.
“Every day my mother cries and says, ‘Where is my son, Avera, whom I raised with great devotion and difficulty in Ethiopia, and here in Israel?” ‘Why are they holding him? What do they need him for?” she asked. “He is not a soldier, he wasn’t trying to hurt anyone.
He is the child of the poor and unfortunate. I also have a heart. I am also a mother.’” Ilan added, “I don’t have any answers for her.”
Physicians for Human Rights said that Hamas had denied its repeated requests to see Avera, even though it sends doctors into Gaza on a monthly basis.
As part of its campaign, the family has also set up a protest tent outside of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s home.
Hamas is also believed to be holding two Israeli-Bedouin captives who are similarly suffering from mental health disorders: Hisham al-Sayed, 30, and Jumaa Abu Ghanima, 20.
In addition, Hamas is holding the bodies of two fallen soldiers from the 2014 Gaza war – Hadar Goldin and Oren Shaul.
On Tuesday, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said that one of the conditions for any Israeli economic rehabilitation of Gaza was the release of the soldiers’ bodies and the Israeli captives.
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