The Government of Qatar has announced that Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, through mediators, have reached an agreement to extend the truce in Gaza for another two days, until Thursday morning, the 30th, after the cessation of hostilities in four days that began last Friday and was scheduled to end early Tuesday.
The spokesman for the Qatari Foreign Ministry, Majed Al Ansari, has said in his X account (formerly Twitter) that “in the framework of the ongoing mediation, an agreement has been reached to extend the humanitarian truce for two more days in the Gaza Strip.” Hamas has also confirmed that “it has been agreed with the brothers of Qatar and Egypt to extend the temporary humanitarian truce for two more days under the same conditions as the previous truce”, that is: a cessation of hostilities and the exchange of hostages in the hands of the militants for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, in addition to the entry of humanitarian aid to Gaza.
The current truce has temporarily stopped the incessant Israeli bombing of the strip and has allowed the release of dozens of Israeli and foreign hostages, and more than 100 Palestinian prisoners after it came into effect on Friday after several weeks of negotiations mediated by the United States. United States, Qatar and Egypt.
The negotiations to extend the truce took place this Monday in parallel with the talks for the fourth exchange, regarding which this morning both Israel and Hamas had expressed doubts. Egypt has assured that Hamas is expected to release 11 hostages today and that Israel is expected to release 33 Palestinians, according to the director of the State Information Service, Diaa Rashwan, who acts as a spokesperson for the Egyptian Government.
In the past three days, the exchange of hostages for prisoners has occurred punctually, with the exception of a tense delay that occurred on Saturday, after Hamas denounced an alleged breach of the agreement by Israel.
The Israeli government is under pressure from the families of the hostages, as well as its allies, to achieve more releases. The US president, Joe Biden, showed this Sunday his hope that the pause would be extended and the release of hostages would continue, with the intervention of other countries in the region. “We are looking for a way to end this and get all the hostages released,” Biden said. “That is my goal, that is our goal, to maintain this pause beyond tomorrow so that we can continue to see more hostages leave and send more humanitarian aid to those in need in Gaza.”
For his part, the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, had also advocated this Monday for an extension of the truce “to make it sustainable while working towards a political solution.” This was indicated at the 8th Regional Forum of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), which brings together this Monday and Tuesday 27 foreign ministers from the Euro-Mediterranean region – with the absence of Israel – who are addressing the conflict.
Hamas said Sunday that it is trying to extend the temporary ceasefire by “seriously trying to increase the number of detainees released, as established in the humanitarian truce agreement.” Israel has previously offered to accept an extra day for every 10 additional hostages released, although it has also reiterated its intention to keep fighting.
Netanyahu spoke with Biden this Sunday and told him that he welcomes the possibility of extending the current pact, although he added that after this temporary ceasefire his Army will continue to attack with force until it meets its objectives in the war.
“The dialogue that led to the agreement must continue, leading to a complete humanitarian ceasefire, for the benefit of the population of Gaza, Israel and the region in general,” said Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN secretary general, on Monday. , António Guterres, who has called “on all States to use their influence to end this tragic conflict and support irreversible steps towards the only sustainable future for the region: a two-state solution, with Israel and Palestine living side by side. side by side, in peace and security.”
As reported by the Financial TimesQatar’s prime minister has said efforts to extend the temporary truce between Israel and Hamas depend on the Palestinian group locating dozens of women and children held hostage in Gaza.
Israel released 39 Palestinian prisoners this Sunday due to the agreement with Hamas, which shortly before released 14 Israeli hostages and three Thais, in the third consecutive day of exchanges of hostages for prisoners in parallel with a temporary ceasefire.
Since the start of the pause, 39 Israelis, 19 foreigners and 117 Palestinians have been released, according to the UN. A total of 50 hostages were expected to be released in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners over four days.
Israel declared war on Hamas on October 7 following the Palestinian group’s attack on Israeli communities that left 1,200 people dead and 240 kidnapped. Israel’s air, naval and ground forces have since attacked the enclave. Palestinian, where there are already more than 14,800 dead, most of them children and women, and estimates that more than 7,000 are missing under the rubble, so the death toll could be even higher.
Humanitarian aid entry
The United Nations has confirmed in its daily report on the conflict that the truce has been respected in the three days it has been in force, without fighting or bombing, which has allowed humanitarian aid to increase, although it reports the death of a Palestinian in Gaza this Sunday in an incident with the Israeli Army, while seven others were killed in the West Bank.
The Palestinian victim in Gaza, as the Red Crescent had already indicated on Sunday, died in an incident that involved shots from an Israeli tank in the Al Maghazi refugee camp, in the central area of the strip, where one was also injured. , indicates the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
On the other hand, over the weekend Israeli forces killed seven Palestinians, four of them minors, in raids in the West Bank, where the number of deaths since the start of hostilities on October 7 has risen, according to the UN. to 230 (eight of them murdered by settlers).
However, the United Nations emphasizes that the truce has been maintained on a large scale for three consecutive days, which in the last 24 hours allowed trucks with humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, although on this occasion the exact number could not be counted. vehicles.
In northern Gaza, the area most ravaged by the conflict and de facto occupied by Israeli forces, the Palestinian Red Crescent was able to distribute more than a thousand tons of food to the Jabalia refugee camp on Sunday, as well as tents, warm clothing, bottled water and medical supplies.
Likewise, on Sunday, 17 patients and wounded were able to be evacuated, along with 11 companions, at the Al Ahli hospital, one of the few operational in the northern half of the strip.
The truce has allowed humanitarian agencies to bring cooking gas to Gaza for the first time since the beginning of the conflict, which according to the UN has resulted in long lines at distribution stations, up to two kilometers long, in which many people He had to spend the night waiting.
Despite this, many people continue to use all types of improvised fuel, including the doors and windows of their own homes, in a Gaza where according to the daily report, food prices have skyrocketed during the conflict.
The general price of food has increased by 10%, although the increases for specific foods such as vegetables (32%), wheat (65%) or bottled water (100%) are even greater.
Despite the truce, pressure from Israeli forces continues on the movement of Palestinians, who continue to be prohibited from moving from the south to the north of Gaza, while Israel continues to order those in the northern half to evacuate to the southern half.
The numbers of evacuees to the south, which reached thousands each day, have however been reduced with the truce and on Sunday less than 400 were registered, indicates the report, which continues to bear witness to arrests of some Palestinians who try to make that route through the only corridor opened by Israeli forces.
The truce allowed 7,600 doses of vaccines to be taken out of northern Gaza on Sunday to take them to the south, amid fears that they would become unusable due to lack of refrigeration; This month more than 11,000 children have been immunized in the south of the strip, despite the difficulties derived from the conflict.