Amnesty Wants You to Troll Hamas Leaders for Release of Two Israelis Held in Gaza

With Israelis Abera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed being held in the strip for over two years, the human rights group asks the public to lobby on their behalf

The two Israelis missing in Gaza, Hisham Abu-Sayid (left) and Abera Mengistu.

Amnesty International Israel sent out an "urgent call to action" on Monday called on the public to fax and email Hamas leaders on behalf of two Israeli citizens believed to be held in Gaza.

Abera Mengistu, 31, and Hisham al-Sayed, 29, have been missing since they crossed the border into the strip in 2014 and 2015, respectively, and are believed to be held by Hamas.

In a letter, the organization gives the fax numbers and email addresses of Hamas' political leader Ismail Haniyeh and Hamas co-founder and senior official Mahmoud al-Zahar. It says Mengistu, a resident of the coastal city of Ashkelon, has suffered from a severe mental disability since his brother's death in 2012 and that al-Sayed, of the Bedouin village of Hura in the Negev, has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and personality disorders and is in need of ongoing medical treatment.

Amnesty's letter calls on the public to write "immediately in Arabic, English or your language to Hamas authorities." It specifies that those who do so should ask the Hamas leaders to "secure their safe release without delay," and "ensure their humane treatment and access to adequate medical care pending their release." The NGO's letter, which asks the public to contact the Hamas leaders by September 4, also asks that people contact the diplomatic representatives in their countries to encourage them to take action in the matter.

Amnesty provides Haniyeh's fax number as +972-8-288-4815 and Zahar's as +972-8-286-8971. It also asks people to email the latter at mail@hamasinfo.net and h104@hotmail.com.

It is believed that Mengistu and Sayed are being held for a future prisoner swap deal with Israel. The humanitarian NGO Human Rights Watch contacted Hamas about the two men last September, but the organization said it would not give any answers until Israel releases a number of Hamas prisoners held in Israeli jails. Two months ago, HRW published a report calling on Hamas to confirm that it is holding the two, reveal details on their condition, and release them.

Amnesty International's appeal for help
Amnesty International

A third Israeli citizen, a young man named Jumaa Abu Ghanima, also crossed from Israel into Gaza in July 2016, but Israel has not categorized him as a missing person.