A significant development has emerged in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, with a truce set to commence at 10 a.m. local time (3 a.m. ET) on Thursday. This agreement, facilitated by international efforts, marks a crucial moment in the quest for peace in the region.
The Truce Agreement: Terms and Prospects
The truce, as outlined by an Israeli official, includes an option to extend up to 10 days, although Israeli officials are skeptical about its duration. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that for every additional 10 hostages released, there will be an extra day of pause in the fighting.
This condition underlines the complex nature of the ceasefire and the delicate balance that needs to be maintained for its success. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres expressed his support for the agreement, recognizing it as "an important step in the right direction." Guterres assured that the UN would mobilize all its capacities to support the truce's implementation and improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, also welcomed the four-day pause, emphasizing its use for facilitating hostage release and addressing the needs of Palestinians in Gaza.
The Role of International Mediators
The truce agreement is the result of concerted efforts by various international players.
Qatar and Egypt played pivotal roles as key negotiators, with both nations expressing hope that this agreement will lead to a ceasefire and a more sustainable solution. The United States, another main negotiator, was represented by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who acknowledged the progress while emphasizing the need for continued efforts as long as Hamas holds hostages in Gaza.
As part of the agreement, at least 50 hostages seized by Hamas, including women and children, will be released in exchange for a four-day pause in Israel's air and ground campaign. Additionally, 150 Palestinian prisoners will be released from Israeli jails, as stated by Hamas.