Germany, Hungary grant citizenship to Israeli captives in Gaza to aid with release: report

Germany, Hungary grant citizenship to Israeli captives in Gaza to aid with release: report
The hostages - some already released and some still in captivity- were granted German and Hungarian citizenships as they had relatives born in these countries.
3 min read
11 January, 2024
It remains unclear when and how many hostages were granted German and Hungarian citizenships [Getty/file photo]

Germany and Hungary have granted citizenships to a number of Israeli hostages who remain captive in Gaza in a bid to facilitate their release, according to a report in Israeli media on Wednesday.

Some of the hostages taken by Hamas on 7 October with European nationality have already been released, The Jerusalem Post said, although it did not specify when this occurred or the number of people given passports.

Other hostages who hold European nationalities are still being held captive in Gaza, while those recently granted German or Hungarian nationalities already have family from the two countries. Berlin and Budapest have reportedly refused to comment on the issue.

Dual nationality can play a role in hostage release efforts and evacuating conflict areas, such as Gaza, with foreign powers working to ensure the protection of their nationals.

Since 7 October, around 110 Israeli and foreign nationals have been released in exchange for at least 240 Palestinian women and child prisoners, amid a temporary truce mediated by Qatar in late November to early December last year.

More than 23,000 Palestinians - the majority children and women - have been killed in Israel's assault on Gaza with Oxfam saying the daily death rate is higher than any other conflict in the 21st century.

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Around 136 people are still held hostage in Gaza by Hamas and other factions, while Israel continues to detain over 7,000 Palestinian political prisoners in harsh conditions - including 2,000 in administrative detention.

Gaza has been subject to a brutal Israeli military onslaught and siege for over three months. Houses, hospitals, schools, and places of worship have all been targeted by the Israeli army, drawing condemnation from many governments and rights groups.

Cases of famine and disease are also likely to exacerbate the death toll and suffering in the territory. Israel is accused of war crimes and genocide, with South Africa raising a case at the International Court of Justice.

Throughout Israel's bloody three-month onslaught, some Israeli captives have been killed by Israeli forces, prompting accusations of "abandonment" and calls for Netanyahu to resign due to his handling of the hostage situation.

In late October last year, the US-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) made demands that the US, Germany, and Austria issue citizenship to Israeli hostages to aid their release.

The ADL has often accused pro-Palestinian civil rights groups and individuals of antisemitism after they spoke out against Israel's war and siege on Gaza.

Germany and Hungary have come under fire for taking pro-Israeli stances despite the scale of death and destruction in Gaza.

Berlin has repeatedly suppressed pro-Palestinian voices in the country and has offered military support to Israel, while Budapest voted against the UN Resolution demanding a ceasefire in November.