Israel and Hamas reached an agreement on 22 November, announcing a four-day cessation of hostilities to facilitate the release of 50 hostages held in Gaza, 150 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel, and the entry of humanitarian aid.
“Tonight, the government has approved the outline of the first stage of achieving this goal, according to which at least 50 hostages – women and children – will be released over four days, during which a pause in the fighting will be held,” explained a statement released by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office.
“The release of every additional ten hostages will result in one additional day in the pause,” the statement added.
In a separate statement, Hamas welcomed the truce as an opportunity to “provide relief” and medical aid for Gazans stuck in the war’s crossfire.
It remains unclear when the first batch of Israeli hostages are to be released, but cabinet sources were informed the first release is expected on 23 November, according to a report by Israel’s Channel 12.
The International Committee of the Red Cross would facilitate the release of hostages within Gaza during the truce.
The negotiations, primarily mediated by Qatar, the United States, and Egypt were ongoing over the past few weeks.
“I confirm the continuation of the Egyptian efforts made to reach final and sustainable solutions that achieve justice, impose peace, and guarantee the rights of the Palestinian people,” Egyptian President Abdelfattah Al-Sisi announced on X, welcoming the brief respite for Gazans.
Qatar’s prime minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani had previously hinted at an imminent deal on 19 November.
US President Joe Biden welcomed the deal with optimism that it would bring home additional American hostages.
Hamas reportedly holds over 200 hostages, all of whom were taken during its 7 October incursion into Israel, resulting in the unrelenting Israeli retaliation on Gaza.
While the truce deal marks a temporary halt in a conflict that has devastated Gaza, Netanyahu’s statement stressed that Israel’s broader mission remains unchanged – to “complete the elimination of Hamas”.
Hamas’s statement reciprocated the need to continue the war, highlighting the need to “defeat the occupation” and establish an independent Palestinian state “with Al-Quds as its capital.”
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