Father of hostage held by Hamas: ‘Hard to see the finish line’

  • Israel, Hamas working on cease-fire deal that includes hostage exchanges
  • The father of a Hamas hostage says the U.S. could be doing more
  • Ruby Chen: 'I think the main challenge is the normalization of the situation'

(NewsNation) — The father of an Israel-American hostage held by Hamas says he is grateful to the White House for what they have done to maintain dialogue with the families of American hostages, but they could be doing more.

Ruby Chen, father of presumed Hamas hostage Itay Chen, joined NewsNation’s “Morning in America” Sunday to talk about his son and what the Biden administration has been doing to help release him.

“I applaud President Biden for everything that he’s been doing, getting on the phone with leaders of Qatar and Egypt to get a deal done,” Chen told NewsNation. “But the U.S. has at its disposal, unlimited levers to put pressure on the players to get the deal done.”

“It is, again, unbelievable that you and I have been talking over the last few months, and each time when we go on-air and we say the amount of days that have passed by,” Chen added.

Chen says part of the problem is that the hostage situation in Gaza has become normalized in the U.S.

“I think the main challenge is the normalization of the situation, meaning that it is something that people have gotten used to. And I think that type of reaction that we get is the one that’s the most difficult to absorb,” Chen said.

International mediators have been working for weeks to broker a deal to pause the fighting before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins around March 10. A deal would likely allow aid to reach hundreds of thousands of desperate Palestinians in northern Gaza who aid officials worry are under threat of famine.

The Israelis “have more or less accepted” the proposal, which includes the six-week cease-fire as well as the release by Hamas of hostages considered vulnerable, which includes the sick, the wounded, the elderly and women, said the official.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Israel at War

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