After more than a month since the start of the “Al Aqsa Flood Operation,” Hamas and Israel have agreed on a plan for swapping prisoners. The deal involves the exchange of 100 detainees held by Hamas for the release of Palestinian women and children held by Israel. An official stated that Hamas is demanding the release of women and children from Israeli jails, a temporary halt, increased humanitarian aid, fuel for hospitals, and the liberation of all civilians. The official also mentioned that Israeli authorities had indicated that they were unsure about releasing its detainees.
Recently, the White House announced that Israel will implement four-hour pauses in northern Gaza. This is to allow people to escape conflict areas and for humanitarian aid to be delivered. The decision followed discussions between US and Israeli officials, including a call between President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The pauses will be announced three hours beforehand and are specific to certain areas in northern Gaza. Israel stated there would be no military operations during these breaks.
The White House views this decision as a “step in the right direction” and hopes it could lead to a more extended ceasefire. However, the US is clear that it won’t support a ceasefire that legitimizes the actions of Hamas militants.
While these humanitarian pauses are positive, it’s uncertain if they’ll be enough to resolve the conflict. Both sides have been reluctant to compromise, raising concerns that violence might resume after the breaks end.
Only time will reveal whether these humanitarian pauses can contribute to a lasting peace in Gaza. Nevertheless, they are considered a positive step and should be supported by those concerned about the suffering of civilians in the region.
Since the Hamas started a cross-border invasion on October 7, Israel has been attacking hospitals, homes, and places of worship in the Gaza Strip using both air and ground forces. There have been at least 11,078 Palestinian deaths, with 3,027 women and 4,506 children among them.