GlobalIsrael-Hamas war: a four-day truce to free dozens of hostages

Israel-Hamas war: a four-day truce to free dozens of hostages

This truce in the fighting must begin this Thursday at 10 a.m. (9 a.m. in Belgium), announced the authorities of the Gaza Strip controlled by Hamas. And in all likelihood, a first group of ten hostages will be released on this first day of break.

The agreement provides for a “bonus” clause allowing the addition of one day of humanitarian truce for an additional batch of ten hostages released in exchange for thirty prisoners. A sign that this pause meets everyone’s expectations, the enthusiasm generated by the agreement immediately increased the options for release. An anonymous Palestinian source cited by the Reuters news agency announced that a second group of fifty hostages would be released by the end of the month.

To prepare for any eventuality, the Israeli Ministry of Justice released a list of three hundred Palestinian prisoners likely to be released (33 women, 123 adolescents, and 144 young people aged 18). Among these prisoners are 49 members of Hamas, according to Israel, which specifies an agreement in two phases.

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Blockade broken

Beyond these reciprocal releases of detainees, this truce should also allow the delivery of humanitarian aid convoys to the Palestinian territory. A welcome announcement for the Gazan population, subjected for weeks to an almost total blockade by Israel and whose living conditions have drastically deteriorated. The UN World Food Program (WFP), which has repeatedly called for prolonged humanitarian pauses in recent times, warned last week that shortages were such that the population of Gaza was at “immediate risk of widespread famine”. ”. Only a fraction of the necessary supplies of water and food reach the territory via the borders. Each arrival of trucks loaded with thousands of bottles of water gives rise to scenes reminiscent of a riot and looting.

Fuel to power vital infrastructure and enable humanitarian aid distribution operations is also part of the agreement. Other supplies are also eagerly awaited, such as medicine or tents to shelter the affected residents, almost half of Gaza’s housing having been damaged or destroyed according to the UN.

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Arab mediation

This truce is the result of intense negotiations between the belligerents, undertaken by Qatar and in which Egypt and the United States also took part (see elsewhere). The military truce includes a ban on flights over the Gaza Strip by drones and Israeli Air Force planes. A measure which should make the IDF generally “blind” to the possible repositioning of Hamas militants. There cannot be “no attack, no military movement or expansion, nothing”stressed Qatar’s chief negotiator, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Mohammed al Khoulaifi.

Several Arab states welcomed this temporary initiative carried by two of their own, believing that this profitable pause in humanitarian aid should be extended and constitute the first step of a broader settlement including a lasting ceasefire. “At no time should there be a reduction in this access based on progress towards further releases of hostages… Punishing the civilian population of Gaza for the detention of these hostages is absolutely not acceptable”, declared the head of Saudi diplomacy Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, alongside his counterparts from Jordan and Egypt, during a meeting in London. For them, this agreement should ultimately lead to the resumption of talks between Israelis and Palestinians within the framework of a two-independent-state solution.

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