The Israeli government and Hamas separately announced on Tuesday a Qatar-mediated agreement. The deal involves the release of dozens of Israeli hostages by Hamas in exchange for a four-day cessation of hostilities in Gaza and the release of numerous Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.
- This agreement, once enacted, marks a significant diplomatic breakthrough and the first major pause in the ongoing conflict.
- In the initial phase, Hamas is expected to release approximately 50 Israeli women and children held in Gaza, while Israel will release around 150 Palestinian prisoners, mainly women and children, during the four-day ceasefire.
- Israel will permit approximately 300 aid trucks daily to enter Gaza from Egypt, and additional fuel will be allowed during the pause in hostilities.
- The second phase may involve the release of more women, children, and elderly individuals by Hamas, with Israel extending the pause for every additional 10 hostages freed.
- The starting time of the four-day pause will be announced within the next 24 hours, subject to extension, according to Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- The Israeli Cabinet approved the deal after over five hours of deliberation.
- Notably, more than 240 people, including Americans, were abducted during the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack, with four hostages, including two Americans, already released.
- Hamas stated that the agreement was reached through Qatari and Egyptian efforts, following challenging negotiations.
- The Israeli government emphasized its commitment to bringing all hostages home and continuing the war to dismantle Hamas and eliminate threats from Gaza.
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked President Biden for assistance in improving the deal, and Biden welcomed the agreement.
- Secretary of State Tony Blinken acknowledged the outcome as a result of tireless diplomacy but emphasized continued efforts as long as Hamas holds hostages.
- Three ministers of the far-right Jewish Power Party were the only Cabinet members to vote against the deal.
- Three ministers of the far-right Religious Zionist Party initially opposed the deal but changed their stance after recommendations from security service heads.
- Over the next 24 hours, the names of the Palestinian prisoners set for release will be made public for potential appeals by Israeli citizens against their release.
- Israel clarified that prisoners convicted of killing Israelis will not be released as part of this agreement.