International mediators are fighting for a ceasefire to release more hostages. But Hamas is making far-reaching demands. The overview.
According to the Qatari government, the Islamist Hamas has sent positive signals following the recent proposal by international mediators for a temporary ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. “We have received a positive response from Hamas, it has several reservations but is generally positive,” Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said at a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Doha.
Hamas itself said it and its allies had dealt with the mediation proposal “in a positive spirit.” However, the agreement must lead to a complete and comprehensive ceasefire, an end to the blockade of the Gaza Strip, the reconstruction of the war-torn coastal area and the full release of Palestinian prisoners.
US President Joe Biden commented on the development in Washington with the words: “There is some movement.” There was a reaction from Hamas, but it seemed to be “a little exaggerated.” Qatar, Egypt and the USA have been making intensive efforts for several weeks to bring about a ceasefire and secure the release of more than 130 Israeli hostages held by Hamas.
Women, the elderly and the injured should be released first
According to media reports, the mediators’ proposal is a multi-stage framework agreement that provides for a longer ceasefire, but leaves several important details open. In the first phase, Hamas is expected to release three dozen female, elderly male and injured hostages. During the ceasefire, Israel and Hamas should then continue to negotiate through mediators in order to achieve the release of all hostages held by Hamas.
In the only agreement of its kind to date, Israel released 240 Palestinian prisoners, all women and young people, in November in return for 105 Hamas hostages, including 14 German citizens. The Gaza war was triggered by the unprecedented massacre carried out by terrorists from Hamas and other extremist Palestinian organizations on October 7th in Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip.
Israel declares numerous hostages dead
Almost four months after the terrorist attack on Israel by the Islamist Hamas, many of the hostages kidnapped into the Gaza Strip have been declared dead, according to the Israeli armed forces. “We have informed 31 families that their loved ones taken hostage are no longer alive and their deaths have been confirmed,” said military spokesman Daniel Hagari. “We continue to work to create the conditions to bring all hostages home.” The New York Times newspaper had previously reported, citing a confidential Israeli intelligence document, that at least 30 hostages had died in or since the Hamas attack on October 7th. There are also unconfirmed indications of the deaths of at least 20 other hostages.
According to the report, some of the hostages were killed during the attack on Israeli territory. Their bodies were then taken to the Gaza Strip. Their deaths were not confirmed at the time, which is why they were counted as hostages. Others died from their injuries in the Gaza Strip or were killed by Hamas fighters. The New York Times count also includes two Israeli soldiers who were killed in 2014 and whose bodies were taken to the Gaza Strip.
Israel’s military chief announces investigation into attack
Israeli Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi has announced a thorough investigation into the armed forces’ response to the unprecedented attack by Hamas and other extremist groups on October 7. “Our intention is very clear,” he said. “To investigate, and to learn, and to get to the bottom of things, and to leave no stone unturned.”
On October 7, terrorists from the Gaza Strip literally overran Israel’s southern border area, killing 1,200 people and kidnapping around 250 others as hostages. The majority of the victims were civilians, but also soldiers whose outposts on the Gaza border were stormed by the attackers.
Israel: Evidence of Iranian payments to Hamas discovered
The Israeli military says it has found evidence of money flows between Iran and Hamas in the extensive tunnel system under the Gaza Strip. Soldiers discovered documents that showed transfers of over $150 million (140 million euros) from Iran to the Islamist organization and its leader in the Gaza Strip, Jihia al-Sinwar, from 2014 to 2020, military spokesman Hagari said. The armed forces published several documents as well as photos of envelopes and cash. The information could not initially be independently verified.
What is important today
Argentine President Javier Milei meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for talks. He is considered a loyal ally of Israel and announced at the start of his trip that he would move the Argentine embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem – this is an affront to the Palestinian side, which claims Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state that is to be founded.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.