The agreement entails Hamas releasing 50 Israeli hostages in exchange for a reported 150 Palestinian prisoners and a four-day ceasefire.
U.S. President Joe Biden has extended his thanks to Qatar for its instrumental role in facilitating a hostage exchange in Gaza.
Biden lauded the efforts of Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar and President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi of Egypt for their “critical partnership in reaching this deal” in a statement yesterday.
Biden further expressed his anticipation to further converse with these leaders and emphasized the importance of ensuring the deal is “fully implemented.”
This morning, the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced a “humanitarian pause” in Gaza, set to last for four days with a potential for extension, the start date of which is to be officially announced within the next 24 hours.
This agreement entails Hamas releasing 50 Israeli hostages in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners (a number disclosed by Hamas and not Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and a four-day ceasefire. Moreover, Israel will refrain from aerial surveillance in southern Gaza during the pause and limit such operations in northern Gaza to six hours daily.
Although the deal has been agreed upon by Israel and Hamas, there is a 24-hour window for the Israeli public to petition against the release of Palestinian prisoners.
However, this is seen as unlikely to happen given the pressure from families of the 240 hostages taken by Hamas on October 7, alongside widespread public support.
In a cabinet meeting ahead of a cabinet vote on the then-draft deal on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that the Israeli assault in the Gaza Strip will persist after the humanitarian pause.
“The war will continue even after the implementation of an agreement with Hamas until we have achieved all our goals,” Netanyahu said.
Israeli media also reported that Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Spokesman Daniel Hagari indicated that the hostage deal and temporary ceasefire will not deter the IDF’s goal to eliminate Hamas, and that the military campaign will resume after the stages to release the hostages are complete.
“The goal of returning the hostages is significant. Even if it results in the reduction of some of the other things, we will know how to restore our operational achievements,” Hagari said in response to a question in a press briefing.
Still, the halt in the fighting may be extended for additional days in exchange for 10 further releases per extra day.