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Reporter asks if Israel values Palestinian lives less than Israelis: 'Astonishing accusation'

Sky News's Kay Burley (L) interviews Israel government spokesperson Eylon Levi (R) on Nov. 22, 2023.
Sky News's Kay Burley (L) interviews Israel government spokesperson Eylon Levi (R) on Nov. 22, 2023. | YouTube/Sky News

A Sky News reporter asked Israeli government spokesperson Eylon Levy during a recent interview whether Israel agreeing to release 150 security prisoners in exchange for 50 hostages held by Hamas means the country values Israeli lives more than Palestinians. 

Israel's temporary ceasefire agreement with the terror group officially went into effect last Friday. 

The agreement, brokered by Qatar, Egypt and the United States, has brought a pause to several weeks of conflict sparked by Hamas' Oct. 7 terrorist attack that resulted in the murder of 1,200 people and abduction of around 240 others. 

The attack prompted Israeli airstrikes and a ground offensive in Gaza, seeking to eradicate Hamas, which has controlled Gaza since 2007, and secure the return of hostages. The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry claims around 15,000 people have been killed in Gaza since the start of the war. 

During Levy's interview last week to discuss the agreement, Sky News' Kay Burley said she had spoken with a hostage negotiator who reportedly made a comparison between the 50 hostages Hamas would release in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners. 

"And he made the comparison between the numbers and the fact that does Israel not think Palestinian lives are valued as highly as Israeli lives?" she asked, a question that left Levy visibly stunned. 

The spokesperson replied that was an "astonishing accusation" and asserted that Israel would release one prisoner for every hostage if it were possible, noting that the Israeli government is currently operating under "horrific circumstances." 

Levy noted that the Palestinian prisoners that Israel agreed to release as part of the agreement had been convicted of violent crimes, while the hostages taken by Hamas were innocent civilians. 

"Notice the question of proportionality doesn't interest Palestinian supporters when they are able to get more of their prisoners out," he said. 

"It is outrageous to suggest that the fact that we are willing to release prisoners who are convicted of terrorism offenses, more of them than we are getting our own innocent children back, somehow suggests that we don't care about Palestinian lives? Really, that's a disgusting accusation," Levy continued. 

The spokesperson shared a clip of the interview in a Nov. 23 post on X, writing that the question left him "speechless (but only for a second)." At the time of this report, the post has reached over 16 million impressions on the platform. 

Sky News did not immediately respond to The Christian Post's request for comment.

Burley moved on to another question about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, asking whether his political career would survive after the war, touching on the criticisms Netanyahu has faced for the security failures on Oct. 7.

Levy responded that those questions, including about what happened on the day of the attack, will likely be addressed after Hamas is destroyed.

At one point in the interview, Levy indicated that Israel would continue its campaign to destroy Hamas and that it hopes to secure the release of all of the victims taken hostage by the terrorist group. 

"This is the terror group that, on October 7, abducted little children from their beds," Levy said. "If we leave them in power, it will do it again because Hamas has told us it wants to perpetrate another and another and another October 7 massacre." 

One of the hostages released as part of Israel's temporary ceasefire agreement with Hamas included 4-year-old Abigail Edan, an American-Israeli girl. Hamas terrorists killed the girl's parents on Oct. 7, the day of Edan's abduction, leaving her an orphan. While she was in captivity, Edan celebrated her fourth birthday. 

According to CNN, Edan's siblings — a 6-year-old sister and a 10-year-old brother — witnessed the terrorist group murder their parents. The siblings' great-aunt, Liz Hirsh Naftali, said that the pair hid for 14 hours to avoid the same fate as their parents.

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: samantha.kamman@christianpost.com. Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

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