A four-day truce between Israel and Hamas, which was brokered by Egypt and Qatar, commenced at 7 a.m. local time (05:00 GMT) on Friday, 24 November. Trucks carrying humanitarian aid have already started crossing into the Gaza Strip from Egypt via the Rafah border crossing.
Some Palestinians in the south of Gaza were seen returning back to their homes, with videos showing scenes of families making their way through Khan Younis to check on their homes and property.
According to Qatar’s Foreign Ministry, the first group of Palestinians detained in Israeli jails will also be released on Friday at around 4 p.m. (14:00 GMT). The first 13 Israeli civilian captives are scheduled to be released.
Under the terms of the deal, 150 Palestinian women and teenagers detained by Israel would be released in exchange for 50 women and children under the age of 19 who were taken hostage by Hamas.
According to Qatar, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will operate in Gaza to assist in the hostages’ release and monitor the truce.
Despite the commencement of the truce, the Palestinian Ministry of Health reports that the Israeli military has not left Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza.
Egypt says that during the truce, 200 trucks carrying humanitarian aid, 136 litres of diesel, and four trucks carrying petrol will be delivered daily to the Gaza Strip, according to a statement by the State Information Service on Thursday, 23 November.
Head of the State Information Service Diaa Rashwan said that lists of prisoners and detainees from both the Israeli and Palestinian sides that are due to be released on the first day have been sent to Egypt for coordination. Israelis being released are expected to be transported to Egypt prior to their transportation to Israel.
On the first day of the four-day truce, at 4:00 p.m., 13 Palestinian prisoners (women and minors under the age of 19) will be released, and 13 Israeli female and minor captives will be released by Hamas.
A list of 300 prisoners, mostly teenagers imprisoned last year without given a chance for trial, was released by Israel’s Justice Ministry, the State Information Service notes.
During the truce, Israeli aircraft will not fly over the southern Gaza Strip at all.
According to the Palestinian Prisoners Society, Israel is holding 7,200 prisoners, 88 of whom are women and 250 of whom are minors (17 years old or younger).
THE CONFLICT SO FAR
After a surprise attack conducted on 7 October by Hamas on a number of southern Israeli towns which resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,200 people and more than 220 being taken hostage by Hamas, Israel launched a retaliatory bombing campaign against what it describes as ‘terrorist targets’ in the Gaza Strip.
At least 13,000 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip — including at least 5,500 children — and over 32,000 others injured. Meanwhile, at least 225 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank and more than 2,700 injured. The death toll is no longer being regularly updated due to the collapse of the enclave’s health system.
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.
During an event in support of Palestine at Cairo International Stadium, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said the forced relocation of Palestinians is a “red line” for Egypt, and it will not be accepted.
The priority of the Egyptian government since the beginning of the conflict has been deescalation and the securing of a path for aid to enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing.