Israel, Hamas agree four-day truce, hostage release, aid into Gaza
Written by Adeola Ibrahim on November 22, 2023
Israel’s government and Hamas agreed on Wednesday to a four-day pause in fighting to allow the release of 50 hostages held in Gaza in exchange for 150 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel, and the entry of humanitarian aid into the besieged enclave.
Officials from Qatar, which has been mediating secret negotiations, as well as the U.S., Israel and Hamas have for days been saying a deal was imminent.
Hamas is believed to be holding more than 200 hostages, taken when its fighters surged into Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people, according to Israeli tallies.
A statement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said 50 women and children will be released over four days, during which there will be a pause in fighting. For every additional 10 hostages released, the pause would be extended by another day, it said, without mentioning the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange.
“Israel’s government is committed to return all the hostages home. Tonight, it approved the proposed deal as a first stage to achieving this goal,” said the statement, released after hours of deliberation that were closed to the press.
Hamas said the 50 hostages would be released in exchange for 150 Palestinian women and children who are held in Israeli jails. The truce deal will also allow hundreds of trucks of humanitarian, medical and fuel aid to enter Gaza, the Palestinian group said in a statement.
Israel had committed not to attack or arrest anyone in all parts of Gaza during the truce period, it added.
U.S. President Joe Biden said he welcomed the deal.
“Today’s deal should bring home additional American hostages, and I will not stop until they are all released,” he said in a statement.
The Qatar government said 50 civilian women and children hostages would be released from Gaza in exchange for the release “of a number of Palestinian women and children held in Israeli prisons”.