Israel And Hamas Agree To Four-Day Ceasefire: 50 Hostages In Gaza To Be Released


Nov 22, 2023. Posted by  Balkan Periscope - Hellas

Israel and Hamas have agreed to a four-day ceasefire, during which the Palestinian group is set to release dozens of hostages taken on October 7.

As part of the agreement, the Israeli government and Hamas have agreed on a four-day pause in fighting to allow for the release of 50 hostages held in Gaza in exchange for 150 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel, as well as the entry of humanitarian aid into the besieged enclave.

 Officials from Qatar, which mediated the negotiations, as well as from the United States, Israel, and Hamas, have been stating for several days that an agreement is imminent.

A statement from the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu specified that 50 women and children would be released over four days, during which there would be a pause in the fighting, as reported by Reuters.

Hamas is believed to be holding over 200 hostages, taken when its fighters attacked Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people according to Israeli estimates.

For every additional 10 hostages released, the “pause” will be extended by another day, the statement said, without mentioning the release of Palestinian prisoners in return.

“The government of Israel has committed to bringing all the hostages home. Tonight, it approved the proposed agreement as a first step toward achieving this goal,” the statement said, following hours of secret deliberations to which the press had no access.

Hamas stated that the 50 hostages would be released in exchange for 150 Palestinian women and children detained in Israeli prisons. The ceasefire agreement will also allow the entry of hundreds of trucks carrying humanitarian, medical, and fuel aid into Gaza, Hamas added.

The agreement is the first ceasefire in a war where Israeli bombardments destroyed extensive areas of Gaza, led by Hamas, killing 13,300 civilians in this densely populated enclave and leaving about two-thirds of its 2.3 million inhabitants homeless, according to Gaza authorities.

Before announcing the agreement, Netanyahu said that the intervention of U.S. President Joe Biden helped improve the provisional agreement, including more hostages and fewer concessions. However, Netanyahu said that Israel’s broader mission has not changed.

“We are at war, and we will continue the war until we achieve all our goals. To destroy Hamas, to bring back all the hostages, and to ensure that no entity in Gaza can threaten Israel again,” he said in a prerecorded message at the beginning of the cabinet meeting.

Three Americans, including a 3-year-old girl whose parents were among those killed during the October 7 Hamas attack, are expected to be among the hostages to be released, a senior U.S. official said.

The Israeli press reported that the first release of hostages is expected on Thursday. The implementation of the agreement must wait for 24 hours to give Israeli citizens the chance to ask the Supreme Court to block the release of Palestinian prisoners, according to reports.

So far, Hamas has only released four prisoners: American citizens Judith Raanan, 59, and her daughter Natalie Raanan, 17, on October 20, citing “humanitarian reasons,” and Israeli women Nurit Cooper, 79, and Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, on October 23.

On the other hand, Israel also releases a list of 300 Palestinian prisoners and detainees who could be released as part of the deal to free Israeli hostages held by Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza, Times of Israel reports. Most of them are teen boys.