On Wednesday, world leaders celebrated as Hamas truce deal, release of hostages an agreement between Israel and Hamas to halt the catastrophic conflict in Gaza for four days, as well as the release of dozens of hostages held by the militant group in exchange for Palestinian inmates imprisoned by Israel.
Hamas Truce Deal, Release of Hostages
The accord represents the most significant diplomatic breakthrough since Hamas’s devastating cross-border raid on southern Israel on October 7, which prompted Israel to unleash a bombing campaign and ground offensive in Hamas-ruled Gaza.
A photograph shot on November 21, 2023, at the new National Library of Israel in Jerusalem, displays an exhibit consisting of seats with books and photographs of Israeli captives abducted by Palestinian Hamas militants after the October 7 incident. Kenzo Tribouillard, AFP
The Israeli government and Hamas agreed on a four-day cease-fire to allow the release of 50 hostages held in Gaza in exchange for the release of 150 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel, as well as the entry of humanitarian aid into the besieged Palestinian enclave.
According to a US official, the agreement was reached after five weeks of negotiations between Qatar, Egypt, and the US.
US President Joe Biden stated late Tuesday that he was happy that some of the captives captured when Hamas militants rushed into Israel on October 7 would be released shortly.
“I am extremely delighted that some of these great souls… will be reunited with their families once this deal is fully implemented,” Biden said in a statement distributed by the White House.
Biden praised Qatar and Egypt’s leaders for their “critical leadership” in achieving the agreement, and praised Israel for agreeing to an extended pause in hostilities in Gaza to allow humanitarian aid to be delivered.
According to a senior US official, three Americans, including three-year-old Abigail Mor Idan, are among the 50 captives slated for staggered release beginning Thursday.
More information on the agreement was released by Qatar on Wednesday.
“The start time of the pause will be announced within the next 24 hours and will last for four days, subject to extension,” Qatar’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi lauded the success of the mediation it undertook with Qatar and the United States on Wednesday.
According to his staff, Sisi also supported the planned “exchange of hostages for prisoners” in Israeli jails.
A True Moment of Hope
French President Emmanuel Macron praised the agreement, saying he was striving to rescue “all” Hamas hostages.
“We are working nonstop to free all hostages.” “The announced humanitarian truce must allow aid to enter and assist the people of Gaza,” Macron said on X.
The France’s foreign minister, Catherine Colonna, hailed the truce agreement as a “moment of real hope,” saying she expects the eight French people imprisoned by Hamas will be among those released.
“We hope that there will be French people among the first batch of hostages to be released,” Colonna told France Inter radio.
EU leader Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday that she hoped the cease-fire will allow more humanitarian supplies into the beleaguered Palestinian enclave, and that she has directed her European Commission to increase relief deliveries.
“The European Commission will do everything possible to use this pause to facilitate a humanitarian surge to Gaza,” she said in a statement, adding, “I wholeheartedly welcome the agreement.”
Germany’s foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, lauded the agreement between Israel and Hamas on Wednesday as a “breakthrough” and urged “vital aid” to be supplied to Gaza.
“The announced release of the first major group of hostages is a breakthrough – even if nothing in the world can undo their suffering,” Baerbock stated on X, formerly Twitter. “The humanitarian pause must be used to bring vital aid to people in Gaza.”
British Foreign Minister David Cameron described the agreement as a “crucial step” and urged the parties to complete it.
“This agreement is a crucial step towards providing relief to the families of the hostages and addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” stated Prime Minister David Cameron. “I urge all parties to ensure the agreement is delivered in full.”
Russia, which will invade Ukraine in February 2022, has also hailed the humanitarian truce agreement reached between Israel and Hamas, according to RIA news agency.
Russia’s partner China, which has consistently supported the Palestinian cause and a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, also welcomed the news.
“We welcome the temporary ceasefire agreement reached by relevant parties and hope that it will help ease the plight of the humanitarian crisis, de-escalate the conflict, and ease tensions,” foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said at a regular briefing.