Israel, Hamas agree to 4-day truce & prisoner exchange

The pause allows for humanitarian aid to access all parts of Gaza.

Tan Min-Wei | November 22, 2023, 12:55 PM


Israel and Hamas have agreed to a four-day truce in order to allow 50 hostages taken by Hamas to be released in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli prisons.

The pause in fighting will also allow for humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, and will also involve a pause in flights over Gaza.

Hostage release

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that 50 women and children would be released by Hamas over four days, around 12 to 13 hostages a day, according to Reuters.

In addition, it would extend the pause in fighting by one day, for every 10 additional hostages released.

It added that the Israeli government was committed to the return of all hostages held by Hamas, and that the deal was the first step to achieving that goal.

The exchange could begin as early Thursday, Nov. 23 pending Israeli judicial approval.

Pause in fighting and flying

The Guardian reported that Hamas negotiated the release of 150 Palestinian women and children held in Israeli prisons in exchange for the hostages.

The militant group said that it had agreed with Israel to stop all fighting, and that Israel had further agreed to not attack or arrest anyone in Gaza over the four-day period.

In addition, hundreds of trucks carrying humanitarian aid will be allowed to enter all parts of Gaza.

Hamas also said that all air traffic would stop in Southern Gaza, and for six-day periods in the north, likely meaning a pause in air strikes, but also drone-based observation.

The Associated Press said the hostage release and truce was negotiated via the Qatar government, describing the truce as a "humanitarian pause", in line with the preferred terminology of the U.S., a key Israeli ally.

Unprecedented humanitarian crisis

Fighting in the Gaza Strip has been going on since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas in Southern Israel, which resulted in over 1,000 people killed and an estimated 240 people taken hostage.

The Israeli military has invaded northern Gaza in retaliation, vowing to wipe out Hamas.

The resultant military action, which includes air strikes, has killed an estimated 13,000 people in the Gaza Strip, according to numbers provided by the Hamas-run government of Gaza.

The Israeli government has also cut off essential services to Gaza, preventing electricity, fuel, food, and water from entering the Hamas-controlled area.

This has led to what the United Nations has called an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, with only a limited amount of humanitarian aid able to enter the area via Egypt’s Rafah crossing.

A pause, not an end

The recent fighting has seen Israel attack hospitals, claiming that Hamas had built extensive military bunkers below the hospital compounds.

But this has placed the patients and staff of those hospitals in significant danger, leading some to condemn the attacks.

Despite negotiations yielding a pause in fighting and a hostage release, the Netanyahu said that the Israeli government still intends to destroy Hamas, indicating that the truce will not be part of a broader peace agreement.

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Top image via UNRWA/Facebook