JERUSALEM – Family members of kidnapped FOX News journalists made statements to the hostage-takers. Olaf Wiig, a camerman from New Zealand, and Steve Centanni, a reporter from the United States, were kidnapped by the Holy Jihad Brigades in the Gaza Strip on Aug. 14.
First, Anita McNaught, Wiig's wife, released the following statement Thursday after meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. Following is a statement by Ken Centanni, brother of Steve Centanni.
"Statement to the men who are holding my husband Olaf and Steve Centanni hostage 12:45 p.m., 24th of August 2006:
1. It was a source of great relief and comfort to me, and to Olaf and Steve’s family and friends to see that our men are being well looked after by you, and we trust that you will continue to care for them until their release.
2. Over 10 days, you have come to know these men. So you must know that they are merely innocent journalists who have no ability to bring about the kind of changes you ask for.
3. Olaf my husband and Steve his colleague are not powerful men. They have only one strength here in Gaza and that is to take the voices of the Palestinian people to the outside world. They can only do this if they are free.
4. Olaf and Steve have always worked for the interests of the Palestinian people. They came here to support you by telling your stories. I do not question that you who are holding them have suffered greatly — as everyone in Gaza, in the Palestinian territories is suffering — but these two men are not responsible for the injustices you speak of, and should not be punished for them.
5. I would like to send a message to my husband Olaf and to Steve. Olaf — you are right: We are doing everything we can — I am doing everything I can here in Gaza — to secure your release. Stay strong, and know that the Palestinian people around me have been very kind. You both know how much you are loved.
6. To the kidnappers, I say: You also have families and wives. People should not be kept from their families. In the name of the Muslim values and traditions you so strongly uphold, these two men are your guests. We all desire a peaceful resolution of this matter — for us and for you. We want our men to come home safe."
Statement by Ken Centanni, brother of FOX News reporter Steve Centanni:
"To the men who are holding my brother, Steve Centanni, and Olaf Wiig. You reached out to us. Now allow me the opportunity to reach out with my words. I was able to see our brother Steve and his colleague Olaf in the video you released yesterday. It shows you treated them with honor and I thank you. I heard them say you were treating them with respect.
By now you know they cherish life. They have no power. They are not dealmakers. They are not politicians and they have no authority. Our brother and his colleague are in Gaza to report your story. Nothing more and nothing less. It is in your control to resolve this matter. I respectfully request that you let our brother Steve and his colleague come home to their families."