The mayor of the Israeli kibbutz where Emily Hand was kidnapped by Hamas has said the nine-year-old Irish-Israeli girl will make a recovery with her community.
"For me it's closure because I announced to Tom [Emily's father] that she was dead, and now she's back home in his arms. It's closure for me," said Amit Solvy.
Kibbutz Be'eri was attacked by Hamas on 7 October with 93 inhabitants murdered and 28 kidnapped.
To date, 12 hostages from the kibbutz have been released including Emily, but 16 remain missing and are believed to be held hostage in Gaza.
Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Solvy said he expects Emily to make a recovery.
His comments came after Emily's father Tom Hand told CNN that "the most shocking, disturbing part of meeting her was she was just whispering, you couldn't hear her" and that "she’d been conditioned not to make any noise".
Mr Hand also said that Emily thought she was gone (kidnapped) for a year and said she cries at night under her covers and does not want comfort.
"Last night she cried until her face was red and blotchy, she couldn’t stop. She didn’t want any comfort, I guess she’s forgotten how to be comforted," Mr Hand said.
"She went under the covers of the bed, the quilt, covered herself up and quietly cried," Mr Hand told CNN.
Responding to Mr Hand’s comments, Mr Solvy said Emily will recover with her community.
"It's very moving. It brings tears to the eyes. The most important thing is she's here.
"She will recover a little bit by a little bit and we know how to deal with it.
"We're living in this situation for many, many years. We know how to take care of kids experiencing rockets above their heads. So she will be okay for sure," he said.
Commenting on a tweet by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar about Emily's release, Mr Solvy said what the Taoiseach had said was a "stupid remark".
This is a day of enormous joy and relief for Emily Hand and her family. An innocent child who was lost has now been found and returned, and we breathe a massive sigh of relief. Our prayers have been answered.— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) November 25, 2023
"It seems that he doesn't know, he isn't aware of the situation in Israel and Hamas.
"It seemed that they just pumped it out. It's just a stupid remark … he should, ah, [be ash]shame of himself," Mr Solvy said.
He added that he had not read the Taoiseach's full statement.
This is the full statement I issued yesterday regarding the release of Emily Hand pic.twitter.com/v6N6bmbbmo— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) November 26, 2023
Emily was at a sleepover at Hila Rotem’s house when Hamas terrorists stormed kibbutz Be’eri.
Hila has been released, but her mother Raya has not. Kibbutz Be’eri is critical of the separation of a child from its mother.
Mr Solvy said part of the agreement between Qatar, the United States and Israel, with the involvement of Hamas, was that mothers and children should not be separated and this was broken.
"I blame Qatar. I blame the United States. I blame the Israeli government. This is what is in the agreement.
"You have to stand by the agreement that you signed. So it was very devastating. We are very sorry for that. We hope that Raya will come home tonight or tomorrow," he said.
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Describing the 7 October attack, Mr Solvy explained how he hid for 13 hours under a rocky bush before surveying the devastation suffered at the kibbutz.
"I walked through the kibbutz. I didn't believe what I'm seeing. It was like Tarantino movies. Houses burned. Bodies all over. Something that you don't … in your darkest dream, you don't dream it. It's like in the movies.
"I saw a lot of bodies, my members [of the kibbutz] bodies and recognised them.
"Since then we are here at the Dead Sea as a community.
"I managed to escape but 93 people from my community didn't. They got killed: my sister, her husband, my neighbours, all of them. Kids, women, older, young. They didn't choose. They just come in here and killed," he said.
Asked about the future of Kibbutz Be’eri, Mr Solvy said it would be rebuilt.
"The community itself, we are a very strong community and we will build it again.
"This is our homeland. You know, you don't go from where you were born," he said.
Mr Solvy said after the terror people would have to go back to their homes but some may not. For those who do they will know who lived where and where others died and were "raped and butchered" and "burned alive".
"To be back on that landscape, it's very difficult, it's very difficult. So, we will build it again, a little bit differently.
"Maybe, we will destroy all the houses that are destroyed already. But the community for sure will come back," he said.
With 12 of the 28 people kidnapped from the kibbutz released, Mr Solvy said he remains concerned.
Waiting for lists of hostages is torture, he said, and he emphasised the importance of getting hostages freed and returned home to their families.
Asked about the continuing war in Gaza, Mr Solvy said Hamas needs to be destroyed.
After that "we rebuild Gaza as a neighbour, it will take time. It will take decades".
"We have to be very alarmed and keep our forces very tight on the border, maybe in the Gaza Strip," he added.