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IDF Releases Footage of Youngest Hostage, Family, as Criminal Court Case against Israeli 'Occupation' Unfolds

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JERUSALEM, Israel – Israel released a video of the youngest Hamas-held hostage and his family on Monday, saying they are concerned for their well-being and calling on the world to demand their release, while the International Court of Justice continued with proceedings against Israel's right to live in its biblical heartland.

The Israel Defense Forces say they discovered the video during their operation against Hamas in Khan Younis.

"From the information available to us, we are concerned for the well-being of Shiri, Ariel, and Kfir. Seeing this young mother clutching her babies surrounded by a group of armed terrorists is horrifying and heart-wrenching," said IDF Spokesman Daniel Hagari.

Hagari says the video shows Shiri Bibas and her two children, 4-year-old Ariel and 9-month-old Kfir as they were being kidnapped on October 7th. Terrorists wrapped them in a sheet and forced them into a car.

"Those who have the audacity to question our need to operate in Gaza but don't have the decency, the basic decency and humanity, to demand that Hamas release our hostages – first of all, they all should take a good look at this terrified mother, Shiri, clutching her babies," Hagari declared.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it shows Israel is dealing with brutal kidnappers of babies, and he announced, "We will bring these kidnappers of babies and mothers to justice. They won't get away with it."

Hundreds of Israelis protested outside the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem on Monday, calling for a deal to release the hostages.

War cabinet minister Benny Gantz warned the world and Hamas that the clock is ticking.

"If, by Ramadan, hostages are not home, the fighting will continue everywhere, to include (the) Rafah area," Gantz cautioned. " We will do so in coordinated manner, facilitating the evacuation of civilians, in dialogue with our American and Egyptian partners to minimize the civilian casualties as much as possible.”

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Meanwhile, in The Hague, the International Court of Justice is hearing arguments over Israel's so-called occupation of Palestinian-claimed territory. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Malki called for an end to the Israeli so-called "occupation."

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Malki said, "The entirety of Israel's colonial occupation regime is on trial today – not just the apartheid, colonization and persecution by which it is brutally imposing it on the Palestinian people," he stated.

Lawyer for the Palestinians Paul Reichler said it's all about a Palestinian state.

"The best and possibly the last hope for the two-state solution that is so vital to the needs of both peoples is for the court to declare illegal the main obstacle to that solution; the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestine."

Attorney Andrew Tucker, director of The Hague Initiative for International Cooperation, represents Fiji, one of the few nations speaking for Israel. 

"The Palestinians argue that Israel is illegitimate and that the Palestinians are the true indigenous people of Palestine," Tucker explained, "and they must have at the very least, a state in all of the so-called occupied territories. That includes the old city of Jerusalem and the whole of the West Bank or Judea and Samaria, the Gaza Strip."

Israel's legal supporters say what is happening in The Hague is a totally illegitimate process intended to undermine the sovereignty of a U.N. member state.

"Fiji is basically arguing the court has no business in this conflict," Tucker asserted. "This is a conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. There's a process, albeit not a perfect one, under the Oslo agreements, to try and achieve, reconciliation and some kind of self-determination for the Palestinians. And the court cannot be making judgments or opinions which interfere with that process."

The hearings run into next week. Tucker believes that in a worst-case scenario, the court would declare Israel's presence in the territories illegal.

In such a ruling, Tucker says, "the very existence of Israel in the territories, militarily, administratively, but also the settlements, are all illegal. Therefore, Israel should withdraw all of that out of the territories, and that will be used in all kinds of political processes to boycott Israel to isolate Israel."

He concedes the best case would involve the court saying the plaintiff's action is biased and political, and that the justices won't get involved. That isn't likely to happen.

In the U.N. Security Council, meanwhile, the US vetoed a resolution for a cease-fire but is circulating another proposal calling for a temporary cease-fire linked to the release of all hostages and humanitarian aid to Gaza.

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About The Author

Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl is a correspondent for CBN News in the Middle East. A Hebrew speaker, she has been covering news in Israel fulltime for more than 20 years. Julie’s life as a journalist has been intertwined with CBN – first as a graduate student in Journalism; then as a journalist with Middle East Television (METV) when it was owned by CBN from 1989-91; and now with the Middle East Bureau of CBN News in Jerusalem since 2009. As a correspondent for CBN News, Julie has covered Israel’s wars with Gaza, rocket attacks on Israeli communities, stories on the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and