On Wednesday, Israel and Hamas came to a groundbreaking agreement for a ceasefire in Gaza, which will span at least four days. The truce, a first in the current conflict, aims to facilitate aid delivery and secure the release of at least 50 hostages in exchange for the liberation of a minimum of 150 Palestinian detainees. The deal, mediated by Qatar and observed worldwide as a significant stride toward alleviating civilian suffering in Gaza, will commence Thursday morning.
An Israeli government statement specified that the initial release would comprise 50 women and children, with the possibility of extending the ceasefire, contingent on the release of more hostages. Israel’s Justice Ministry has circulated a list of 300 Palestinian prisoners eligible for release under the agreement, emphasizing the commitment to repatriate all hostages. In response, Hamas will free the first 50 hostages and permit the entry of humanitarian, medical, and fuel supplies into Gaza. Concurrently, Israel will suspend air operations over southern Gaza, maintaining a daily six-hour no-fly period in the north.
The truce is not without contention; an Egyptian security source indicated that while a 10:00 a.m. start time on Thursday is suggested, confirmation from Israeli officials is pending, with Hamas requesting time to commence the release. The ceasefire ushers in a modest step towards peace in the long-standing Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which has seen severe civilian casualties on both sides.
Despite the ceasefire, both Israel and Hamas maintain that their broader objectives remain unchanged. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared the continuation of war efforts until the complete defeat of Hamas and the safeguarding of Israel from threats. Conversely, Hamas reaffirmed its readiness to defend its territory against occupation. The truce has garnered international support, including from Joe Biden, who expressed approval of the deal which is expected to include the release of American hostages.