Hostages swap, On Wednesday, Israel and Hamas agreed to a four-day cease-fire in Gaza in exchange for hostages swap at least 150 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel.
The first truce in a deadly near-seven-week conflict, struck following Qatari mediation, was lauded around the world as a sign of progress that could alleviate the suffering of Gaza’s civilians and return more Israeli hostages home. Israel stated that the ceasefire could be prolonged if more hostages were released.
First 50 Hostages Swap
In Tel Aviv on October 26, 2023, artists paint portraits of hostages captured during the Hamas invasion on Israel’s south.
When gunmen rampaged through southern Israeli villages on October 7, Hamas and allied forces grabbed approximately 240 hostages. Previously, Hamas had only issued four.
The official start date of the truce is anticipated to be announced within 24 hours, with the first hostages set to be released on Thursday.
According to a statement issued by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, 50 women and children would be freed over four days at a rate of at least ten each day. The truce might be extended if a further ten hostages were liberated each day.
It made no mention of the release of Palestinian detainees, but Israel’s justice ministry published a list of 300 names of Palestinian prisoners who could be released.
“The Israeli government is committed to releasing all hostages.” “It approved the proposed deal tonight as a first step towards achieving this goal,” added the government statement.
Hamas stated that the first 50 captives would be released in exchange for the release of 150 Palestinian women and children detained in Israeli jails. Hundreds of trucks carrying humanitarian, medical, and fuel supplies would enter Gaza, while Israel would suspend all air flights over southern Gaza and maintain a daily six-hour no-fly window in the north.
Since the Hamas attack, Israel has imposed a siege and unrelenting bombardment on Gaza, killing 1,200 people, the majority of whom were civilians, according to Israeli estimates. More than 14,000 Gazans have been murdered since then, with about 40% of them being minors, according to medical professionals in the Hamas-ruled region, data deemed reliable by the UN.
Qatar’s senior negotiator in the ceasefire talks, state minister Mohammed Al-Khulaifi, told Reuters that the truce meant “no attack whatsoever.” “No military movements, no expansion, nothing.”
The Qatar expects the accord “will be a seed to a larger agreement and a permanent cease-fire.” And that is our objective,” he stated.
There was no respite in hostilities prior to the start of the truce. As dawn rose, smoke from explosions could be seen rising above northern Gaza in live Reuters video from across the border.
The Israeli military released video of soldiers shooting in tiny corridors and announced air strikes. According to the statement, “forces continue to operate within the Strip’s territory to destroy terrorist infrastructure, eliminate terrorists and locate weaponry” , according to the statement.
What Kind of Truth is There?
The cease-fire agreement is a first little step towards peace in the most violent conflict of the 75-year-old Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The suffering of civilians on both sides has stunned the world over the past seven weeks, beginning with the massacre of Israeli families in their homes and ending with the damage rained down on Gaza, home to 2.3 million people.
“What kind of peace can there be after what happened to us?” “We are all dead people,” said Mona, a Gaza lady whose nieces and nephews were among those murdered in an Israeli air strike on the Seyam family’s home. “This will not bring back what we lost, will not heal our hearts or make up for the tears we shed.”
Kamelia Hoter Ishay, whose 13-year-old granddaughter Gali Tarashansky is reported to be held in Gaza, said she would not trust claims of a deal until she received word that the girl had been released. “And then I’ll know that it’s really over and I can breathe a sigh of relief and say that’s it, it’s over,” she went on to remark.
Both Israel and Hamas have stated that the cease-fire will not affect their larger aims. “We are at war, and we will fight until we achieve our objectives.” “To destroy Hamas, return all of our hostages, and ensure that no entity in Gaza can threaten Israel,” Netanyahu stated in a recorded statement.
In a press release, Hamas said: “As we announce the striking of a truce agreement, we affirm that our fingers remain on the trigger, and our victorious fighters will remain on the lookout to defend our people and defeat the occupation.”
There was still some optimism for a step towards broader peace.
“We hope for a truce and good solutions, and we hope people will live peacefully and return to their homes and workplaces with stability,” said Abu Jihad Shameya, a displaced man from north Gaza who had sought safety in the main southern city of Khan Younis.
“May God not extend this suffering.”
FOREIGNERS ARE AMONG THOSE HOSTAGES SWAP TO GO FREE
US Vice President Joe Biden was among the world leaders who applauded the agreement. Three Americans, including a three-year-old girl whose parents were killed in Hamas’s October 7 attack, are anticipated to be among the hostages released, according to a senior US official.
According to Israel, more than half of the hostages have foreign or dual citizenship from around 40 nations.
According to Israeli media, the arrangement must be implemented after 24 hours to allow Israeli citizens to petition the Supreme Court to prevent the release of Palestinian detainees.
In the words of Qadura Fares, head of the Palestinian Authority’s Commission for Prisoners’ Affairs in Ramallah, there are approximately 85 women and 350 juveniles among the more than 7,800 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.
The armed wing of the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad, which collaborated with Hamas in the October 7 invasion, announced late Tuesday that one of the Israeli hostages it has been holding since the raid has died.