In the continuously devastating war in Gaza between the Israeli government and Palestinian militant group Hamas, a temporary ceasefire was forged by a deal brokered by the United States, Egypt, and Qatar. This ceasefire was slated to last four days, beginning on November 27, but communications between the warring parties allowed for the ceasefire to be extended to seven days, as reported by Reuters. Outlined in this halt in hostilities is a deal conveying how Israel would allow more fuel and humanitarian aid into Gaza. The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) released a statement conveying their mission, saying, “Inspired by our responsibility towards our patient and determined Palestinian people, and our tireless endeavor to support the steadfastness of our heroic people in the dignified Gaza Strip and to provide relief and treat their wounds, and in our work to consolidate the will of our victorious resistance on October 7 in the face of the Zionist enemy.” This emphasizes the Palestinian goal in this ceasefire: to support the population through the transport of aid into the country. In return for this aid, Hamas agreed to release 50 Israeli hostages. In a statement by Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, “The Government of Israel is obligated to return home all of the hostages. 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.” This illustrates Israel’s goal in this ceasefire, which is to return the hostages, which include children, women, and foreign nationals, according to The Guardian.
Qatar acted as an international mediator in order to achieve this break in violence. Organizing this halting of the chaos was a challenge, however, with mediators saying that the “two parties that have zero level of confidence in each other,” as reported by Reuters. When the negotiations began, Netanyahu stated he would not swap hostages for Palestinian prisoners. However, the parties eventually settled on a ratio of three Palestinian prisoners for each civilian hostage.
The first round of hostages released by Hamas was composed of 13 Israelis, 10 Thai citizens, and one Filipino man, as reported by The Guardian. Among these released were elderly women and young children. On November 25, a second round of hostages were released by Hamas, releasing 17 hostages with seven Israeli children, including an Israeli-Irish 9 year old girl, Emily Hand, who was previously thought to have been killed by the terrorist militants, as reported by CBS News. Now, a third round of hostages were released on November 30.As of November 30, a total of 104 hostages have been freed from Hamas throughout this ceasefire, according to The Washington Post. Among the third round of hostages released by Hamas is 4 year old dual Israeli-American citizen Abigail, whose parents were both killed in the conflict. U.S. President Joe Biden commented, “What she endured was unthinkable.” Abigail is the first American freed under the truce, with at least eight more in captivity according to The Guardian. After the 7 day ceasefire, the parties were unable to meet and agree to further extend the ceasefire, so violence resumed in Gaza on December 1. The pressure on the Israeli government continues to be pressed, as many Israelis and nationals are determined to return their loved ones from the hands of Hamas.
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