Policy Topics

Gaza gets a reprieve with negotiated pause in fighting between Israel and Hamas

This week, Israel’s right wing gov­ern­ment and the Hamas ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion agreed to a pause in fight­ing after nego­ti­a­tions facil­i­tat­ed by Qatar.

Dur­ing the pause, Hamas will release abductees back to Israel and Israel will release Pales­tini­ans that it is hold­ing pris­on­er. The first of these exchanges have already begun and more are expect­ed in the com­ing days.

As they occur, the Unit­ed Nations and inter­na­tion­al aid orga­ni­za­tions are try­ing to get bad­ly need­ed sup­plies into Hamas-con­trolled Gaza to help the mil­lions of Pales­tini­ans in need of food, clean water, and medicine.

A num­ber of major news orga­ni­za­tions have live­blogs going today with reg­u­lar updates. Here are some of the ones we’re keep­ing an eye on:

Here’s a sum­ma­ry of the lat­est devel­op­ments from the BBC:

  • Thir­teen Israeli hostages released by Hamas are back in Israel, the Israel Defense Forces have confirmed
  • They were part of a group that includ­ed 10 Thais and one Fil­ipino national
  • The Red Cross picked up the hostages in Gaza and trans­ferred them into Egypt via the Rafah bor­der crossing
  • The release is part of a deal, medi­at­ed by Qatar, which also includes the release of 39 Pales­tin­ian detainees from Israeli jails today
  • Under the terms of the deal, a total of 50 hostages and 150 Pales­tin­ian detainees will be released over four days dur­ing a tem­po­rary ceasefire
  • More aid is also being allowed into Gaza — 60 lor­ries car­ry­ing med­ical sup­plies, fuel and food entered today from Egypt
  • Hamas’s attacks on 7 Octo­ber killed 1,200 peo­ple, with about 240 tak­en hostage
  • Since then, Gaza­’s Hamas-run health min­istry says more than 14,000 peo­ple have been killed in Israel’s retal­ia­to­ry campaign

On Tues­day, Pres­i­dent Biden issued a state­ment hail­ing the agreement.

“I wel­come the deal to secure the release of hostages tak­en by the ter­ror­ist group Hamas dur­ing its bru­tal assault against Israel on Octo­ber 7th,” the Pres­i­dent said.

“Jill and I have been keep­ing all those held hostage and their loved ones close to our hearts these many weeks, and I am extra­or­di­nar­i­ly grat­i­fied that some of these brave souls, who have endured weeks of cap­tiv­i­ty and an unspeak­able ordeal, will be reunit­ed with their fam­i­lies once this deal is ful­ly implemented.”

“I thank Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani of Qatar and Pres­i­dent Abdel-Fat­tah El-Sisi of Egypt for their crit­i­cal lead­er­ship and part­ner­ship in reach­ing this deal.  And I appre­ci­ate the com­mit­ment that Prime Min­is­ter Netanyahu and his gov­ern­ment have made in sup­port­ing an extend­ed pause to ensure this deal can be ful­ly car­ried out and to ensure the pro­vi­sion of addi­tion­al human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance to alle­vi­ate the suf­fer­ing of inno­cent Pales­tin­ian fam­i­lies in Gaza. I look for­ward to speak­ing with each of these lead­ers and stay­ing in close con­tact as we work to ensure this deal is car­ried through in its entirety.”

“It is impor­tant that all aspects of this deal be ful­ly implemented.”

“As Pres­i­dent, I have no high­er pri­or­i­ty than ensur­ing the safe­ty of Amer­i­cans held hostage around the world. That’s why — from the ear­li­est moments of Hamas’s bru­tal assault — my nation­al secu­ri­ty team and I have worked close­ly with region­al part­ners to do every­thing pos­si­ble to secure the release of our fel­low cit­i­zens. We saw the first results of that effort in late Octo­ber, when two Amer­i­cans were reunit­ed with their loved ones. Today’s deal should bring home addi­tion­al Amer­i­can hostages, and I will not stop until they are all released.”

Accord­ing to a dis­patch from the White House press pool, the Pres­i­dent was briefed mul­ti­ple times this morn­ing by his nation­al secu­ri­ty team on the lat­est devel­op­ments regard­ing the release of hostages from Gaza.

“Dur­ing the human­i­tar­i­an pause that has been in place since this morn­ing, the UN was able to scale up the deliv­ery of human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance into and across Gaza,” said a bul­letin pub­lished by OCHA, the Unit­ed Nations Office for the Coor­di­na­tion of Human­i­tar­i­an Affairs.

“200 trucks were dis­patched from Nit­sana to the Rafah crossing.”

“137 trucks of goods were offloaded by the UNRWA recep­tion point in Gaza mak­ing it the biggest human­i­tar­i­an con­voy received since Octo­ber 7.”

“129,000 litres of fuel and four trucks of gas also crossed into Gaza.”

“21 crit­i­cal patients were evac­u­at­ed in a large-scale med­ical oper­a­tion from the north of Gaza. Hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple were assist­ed with food, water, med­ical sup­plies and oth­er essen­tial human­i­tar­i­an items.”

“The UN wel­comes the release of 24 hostages held in Gaza since Octo­ber 7 and renews its call for the imme­di­ate and uncon­di­tion­al release of all hostages.”

“Human­i­tar­i­an teams from the UN and part­ners will con­tin­ue to ramp up human­i­tar­i­an oper­a­tions to meet the needs of peo­ple through­out Gaza in the com­ing days.”

Andrew Villeneuve

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