Qatar revealed a significant truce-for-hostages agreement between Israel and Hamas, bringing a temporary halt to the six-week war. This deal aims to free dozens of hostages held in Gaza, release Palestinian prisoners, and increase humanitarian aid to the besieged region.
According to Qatar’s Foreign Ministry, the truce, set to last four days, will commence soon, which calls for the gradual release of 50 hostages in return for what Hamas claims to be 150 Palestinian captives detained by Israel. Notably, those freed on both sides will primarily be women and children.
The announcement followed extensive indirect negotiations led by Qatar, involving Israel, Hamas, the United States, and Egypt. The Israeli Cabinet approved the deal, marking the end of a roughly 240-hostage situation in Gaza.
Humanitarian aid to Gaza is expected to see a boost as part of the agreement. The exact start of the truce will be disclosed within a day by Qatar, with hostage releases beginning approximately 24 hours after all parties give their approval.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu affirmed the government’s commitment to bringing all hostages home. However, he emphasized that the war against Hamas would resume after the temporary truce expires, stating, “We are at war, and we will continue the war until we achieve all our goals.”
President Joe Biden welcomed the agreement, underlining Netanyahu’s promise of an “extended pause” to ensure the release of all hostages and the delivery of humanitarian assistance. The truce’s potential extension will be linked to the release of additional hostages by Hamas.
This development, though offering a temporary pause, raises questions about the long-term prospects of the conflict and potential pressure on Israel to end its military actions without fully achieving its objectives.
The toll of the conflict is evident, with more than 14,000 Palestinians, including 5,500 children, reported killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza since October 7. Israel has suffered casualties, with 1,200 deaths, primarily during the initial attack by Hamas, and around 240 people taken captive by militants