Israel And Hamas Reach Hostage Release Deal In Exchange For 4-Day Pause In Fighting



Israel and Hamas have reached a deal in which around 50 hostages being held by Hamas will be released to Israel, according to multiple reports, while fighting will pause for four days—marking the first major agreement between the two sides since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack.

Key Facts

News of the deal broke Tuesday night after Israel’s cabinet accepted the highly anticipated agreement.

The four-day pause in fighting will be the first pause longer than four hours that Israel has agreed to since the fighting escalated in early October.

Israel will let 300 aid trucks a day cross from Egypt into Gaza as part of the deal, according to Axios.

Israel did not state whether the deal will involve the release of Palestinian prisoners, but NBC News reported some 150 Palestinians held by Israel could be released under the agreement.

Because the deal was approved Tuesday, the hostages may not be released until Thursday to allow a 24-hour judicial review period, the New York Times reported Tuesday, before the deal was announced.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office hinted at the deal Tuesday, announcing Israel’s war cabinet, security cabinet and government would all have meetings Tuesday night “in light of the developments on the issue of freeing the hostages.”

At the start of one of Tuesday night’s meetings, Netanyahu said he asked President Joe Biden to help improve the hostage deal to “include more hostages for a lower cost,” according to an Axios reporter.

Qatar and the U.S. have both helped in negotiations between Hamas and Israel, working for weeks to help arrange a hostage release and potential break in fighting, according to CNN.

What To Watch For

Israel suggested a pause in fighting could continue beyond four days, saying in a statement, “The release of every additional ten hostages will result in one additional day in the pause,” according to the Guardian.

Crucial Quote

“The war continues, the war will continue until we achieve all of our goals: to eliminate Hamas, to return all our hostages, to ensure that the day after Hamas, Gaza will no longer be a threat to Israel,” Netanyahu said Tuesday before one of the meetings to approve the deal, CNN reported.

Big Number

More than 240. That’s how many hostages have been held by Hamas since Oct. 7. Over the last six weeks of fighting, Hamas has released just four hostages back to Israel—including a mother and daughter and two elderly Israeli women—and Israel freed one hostage during a ground operation. According to the Israeli Defence Forces, at least two hostages held by Hamas, 65-year-old Yehudit Weiss and 19-year-old soldier Noa Marciano, have been found dead. Weiss was discovered last week near Al-Shifa hospital, which has been a major battleground over the last week. Hamas claimed Marciano died in an Israeli airstrike on Nov. 9, according to the BBC.

Key Background

Getting hostages returned who were taken in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel has been a priority of Israel and the U.S. Of the approximately 240, it’s estimated that about 10 hostages are Americans, according to ABC News, including a 3-year-old toddler who is believed to be the youngest American held. Over the weekend, U.S. officials said negotiations between Israel, Hamas and the U.S. were “closer than (they had) been perhaps at any point,” and leaders from Hamas and Qatar both made similar claims Tuesday. Israel has also faced increasing calls from international leaders for a cease-fire as the death toll in Gaza has continued drastically rising. Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders had previously signified they were open to a multi-day pause, according to the Washington Post, but continued to say they wouldn’t agree to a cease-fire unless all hostages were released. As of Tuesday, the Hamas-run Health Ministry estimated more than 13,000 people have died since the conflict began. In Israel, an estimated 1,200 have died—the majority of whom were killed in the initial Hamas attack last month.

Further Reading

MORE FROM FORBESIsrael Confirms Two More Hostages Released By HamasMORE FROM FORBESIsrael Says Forces Free Soldier Taken Hostage By Hamas As Gaza Ground Invasion ContinuesNBC NewsIsrael-Hamas war live updates: Hamas leader says group ‘close to’ a truce agreementWashington PostIsrael-Gaza live updates: Gaza’s Indonesian Hospital reels from strike; Hamas signals ‘truce deal’ is near


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