Israel and Hamas agreed to exchange hostages and ceasefire for 4 days - ForumDaily
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Israel and Hamas agreed to exchange hostages and ceasefire for 4 days

Fifty women and children who have been held hostage by Hamas in the Gaza Strip since October 7 are to be released in exchange for a four-day ceasefire. Such an agreement was concluded by Israel and Hamas with the mediation of Qatar and the support of the United States, reports Guardian.

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A U.S. official said three Americans would be among those released, including a girl who turns four this week. The first release must occur by November 23.

Agreement details

According to Hamas, Israel will release 150 Palestinian prisoners, all women and children, from Israeli prisons and allow hundreds of trucks carrying humanitarian aid to cross the border into Egypt at the Rafah crossing every day. This will provide humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

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Israel will stop aircraft sorties in southern Gaza and limit them to six hours a day in the north, according to a Hamas report on the agreement. It also said Israeli forces would not bring military equipment into Gaza during the ceasefire and would not attempt to detain anyone.

The Israeli government said the ceasefire would be extended by one day for every 10 additional hostages.

The agreement temporarily halts the war, which up to this point had lasted more than six weeks. It cost the lives of 14 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and more than 128 in Israel, most of whom were victims of the Hamas surprise attack on October 1200.

Why now

The Israeli government has come under intense domestic pressure. They demand that he make progress on the issue of returning the hostages.

Their families launched a high-profile "bring them home" campaign when they met with members of the Israeli military cabinet on the evening of November 20.

International pressure is also increasing in response to the increasingly desperate humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. Israeli military bombing followed by a ground invasion has created a civil crisis: food, water, fuel and medicine are in critical shortages, 1,7 million of the 2,3 million people have been forced to flee their homes, and only 10 of 36 hospitals are functioning.

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Last week, 68% of Americans said they supported a ceasefire. The US is concerned that Israel has gone too far in its military response.

Hamas is losing ground on the battlefield as Israeli forces were able to capture most of the northern Gaza Strip, including Gaza City. The Israeli military says it has inflicted heavy casualties on 10 of Hamas' 24 battalions, and its leadership is believed to have moved to the southern tip of the Gaza Strip.

Will fighting resume after the ceasefire?

Hamas will likely want to use any ceasefire to regroup and may try to extend it by offering to gradually release more hostages. Israel has promised to destroy Hamas.

Israel has more incentive to return to the battlefield. The Israeli military has not yet occupied all of northern Gaza. On November 21, they surrounded Jabaliya, which they consider a Hamas stronghold, and a nearby Indonesian hospital, the only functioning major medical facility in the north.

The Israeli command is also concentrated in the south of the Gaza Strip, in particular in the city of Khan Yunis, where, in their opinion, the Hamas leadership is based and the remaining hostages may be held. Some Israeli military officials argue that delivering a knockout blow to Hamas would require attacking the city, even though that would result in the deaths and displacement of more civilians in an already overcrowded area.

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The US has made clear that it will not support a ground offensive in the south unless there are much stronger safeguards against civilian casualties.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, told his cabinet that he expected fighting to resume. “We will not stop after the ceasefire,” he said.

As ForumDaily wrote earlier:

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