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"All the parties at the table have failed" to free those held by Hamas, mother of hostage says

Mother of hostage: "All the parties at the table have failed"
"All the parties at the table have failed" to free those held by Hamas, mother of hostage says 04:46

The mother of a 23-year-old man still being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip said it is a "failure" of global leaders and governments involved in hostage negotiations, including the United States, that has left her son and more than 130 others in captivity, as Sunday marked six months since their kidnapping.

Since Rachel Goldberg-Polin's son, Hersh, was violently abducted during the Hamas militant group's attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7, she has been at the forefront of public calls to free those who were seized and quickly hidden in Gaza while, according to Israeli authorities, about 1,200 people were killed. 

After previously meeting with the Pope and speaking at the United Nations, and ahead of another planned engagement at the White House on Monday, Goldberg-Polin characterized the amount of time that has passed without the hostages being returned as "a complete failure" by leaders across the world. 

"We are feeling extreme desperation, despair," she told "Face the Nation" moderator Margaret Brennan on Sunday. "And we've had wonderful access and sympathy, and open doors and lots of hugs from everyone in the U.S. government. But this is a very binary situation."

Rachel Goldberg-Polin on "Face the Nation," April 7, 2024. CBS News

Hersh, an Israeli-American citizen, was among about 250 people captured by militants in Israel on the day of the Oct. 7 assault, all of whom were taken by force back to the Palestinian territory. Israel's swift response to the massacre by way of a land, sea and air incursion into Gaza unfolded into the devastating current war, and although Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of his cabinet have said rescuing the hostages is their priority, less than half have been returned more than 180 days later.

Goldberg-Polin said is traveling to White House on Monday and will focus on getting answers from officials within the Biden administration as to what exactly is being done to release Hersh and the rest of the hostages who remain in Gaza. Negotiators were set to resume talks on Sunday in Cairo with the hope of brokering a cease-fire that would temporarily pause Israel's war in the enclave with the aim of freeing more people in Hamas captivity. 

"We want our people back, period," said Goldberg-Polin. "And that's what we're going to be talking tomorrow about, is what is actually going to be happening, what leverage, what levers need to be pulled in order to make this happen, because six months is actually a complete failure on everybody's part. And I actually include myself in that as a parent, that I have not been able to save my son." 

A former Chicago resident who now lives in Israel, Goldberg-Polin emphasized the role of political leaders who, she believes, are not doing enough to return the hostages. Hersh is one of several U.S. citizens believed to be still in Hamas captivity, and the other remaining hostages come from various countries.

"Anyone who is a parent can appreciate our job is to keep our children safe. And when they get in a situation when they're not safe, our job is to save them," she said. "And I feel that I have failed. And I feel that our governments have failed. And I feel that all the parties at the table have failed to get these 133 souls back home."

Israel and Hamas struck a deal in November that allowed a seven-day pause in the Israeli military's bombardment of Gaza and the release of roughly 100 hostages, mostly women and children, as well as the release of around 200 Palestinian prisoners from Israel. But negotiators have been unable to facilitate another truce agreement since then, as Israel's continued military operations have destroyed critical infrastructure in Gaza, including entire cities, and left more than 33,000 Palestinians dead, according to Gaza's Health Ministry and international aid agencies. The Israeli military has said that more than 13,000 Hamas fighters were killed.

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