As Americans celebrated Thanksgiving, the two sides of an ongoing Israel-Hamas war were initiating a four-day truce with the intention of allowing for the release of women and children being held hostage by terrorists in Palestine.
Along with U.S. negotiators, officials from Qatar and Egypt were involved in brokering the deal, which has been in progress for days amid a surge in hostilities following last month’s Hamas attack on Israel.
Terms of the temporary ceasefire were announced on Wednesday and set to go into effect the following day. While Hamas is expected to release dozens of the estimated 240 hostages it has captured, Israeli authorities have reportedly agreed to release about 150 Palestinian prisoners as part of the arrangement.
The deal reportedly allows for a one-day extension to the truce for every 10 hostages Hamas releases above the agreed-upon terms of the negotiation.
Although details about the agreement vary depending on the source, Israel has apparently also agreed to allow additional humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, which has been a consistent concern among officials within the Biden administration.
I welcome the deal to secure the release of hostages taken by Hamas during its brutal assault against Israel on October 7th.⁰⁰I'm gratified that these brave souls, who have endured an unspeakable ordeal, will be reunited with their families once this deal is fully implemented.
— President Biden (@POTUS) November 22, 2023
As for the ceasefire itself, the Israeli military is expected to curtail all jet flights over southern Gaza and provide a daily six-hour stoppage across northern Gaza during the four-day period, during which ground troops will also reportedly hold their fire. Some details, such as whether unmanned drones will continue to survey the region, were not immediately clear.
On the other side, Hamas militants have reportedly agreed to end the barrage of missile attacks aimed at Israel.
While the release of hostages has been a priority for Israel since the war began, many critics of a ceasefire — including Secretary of State Antony Blinken — have expressed serious concerns that it would allow Hamas to regroup and potentially plan another deadly attack.
For his part, however, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his nation’s army will also be using the temporary truce to build up its military readiness for when fighting resumes.
“The first goal is eliminating Hamas; we are not stopping until this is carried out,” Netanyahu said as the terms of the deal were still being hammered out. “The second goal is the return of the hostages. I do not think that it is necessary to belabor the point, not even now, but I hope there will be good news soon.”