Israel and Hamas have agreed to a four-day truce, contingent on the release of hostages taken by the Palestinian group on October 7. The announcement was made on Wednesday following a lengthy meeting of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet, during which he emphasized the difficulty of the decision but asserted its necessity.
Under the terms of the agreement, at least 50 Israeli and foreign hostages, including women and children, are set to be released in exchange for a four-day “lull” in military operations. The truce duration can be extended with the release of additional hostages, with every 10 hostages leading to an extra day of ceasefire.
Hamas, in a statement, welcomed the “humanitarian truce” and revealed that the agreement would also facilitate the release of 150 Palestinians from Israeli jails. The truce holds the promise of a temporary respite for Gaza residents, who have endured nearly seven weeks of intense conflict.
Sources from Hamas and Islamic Jihad indicated that the truce encompasses a complete ceasefire on the ground and a pause in Israeli air operations over southern Gaza. Qatar played a crucial role in brokering the talks that led to this agreement.
Despite reservations within Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition, the Israeli cabinet’s approval was a pivotal step in implementing the truce. Some critics argued that the agreement might concede too much to Palestinian militants responsible for the October 7 attacks, which claimed an estimated 1,200 lives and resulted in the capture of 240 hostages.
The situation remains tense, with ongoing military operations. The Israeli military reported approximately 250 strikes on Hamas targets in the past day, while Gaza’s health ministry alleged dozens of casualties, including at least three doctors killed in an Israeli strike on the Al-Awda hospital.
International voices, including the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), have called for an immediate and sustained humanitarian truce in Gaza. During a virtual summit, China’s President Xi Jinping demanded the release of civilian detainees and a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, while South Africa accused Israel of war crimes and “genocide.”