Yesterday afternoon, Idit Ohel gave kisses and hugs in the camp of the families of the Hamas hostages, installed in front of the Tel Aviv Art Museum and behind the headquarters of the Ministry of Defense. Idit is the mother of Alon Ohel, one of the nearly 240 kidnapped people, fifty of whom must begin to be released starting tomorrow in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners, according to the agreement between Israel and Hamas announced early yesterday morning.
Alon Ohel was kidnapped during the October 7 terrorist attack on the electronic music festival taking place near the Gaza border. The optimism and smiles that his mother exuded were due to the fact that the families of the hostages see in this agreement the light at the end of the tunnel, rather than because of the immediate release of his son, which has not yet occurred. “Alon is 22 years old,” Idit told La Vanguardia, now with a sad grimace, knowing that the first fifty hostages to be released are all minors and women.
The director of Mossad, the Israeli foreign intelligence service, David Barnea, traveled yesterday to Qatar to finalize the details of the agreement and finalize the list of the fifty hostages, which could include all the minors, who are estimated to be 40. , and ten women.
However, when everything was ready, the unexpected happened. At the stroke of midnight in Israel, a statement from the director of the National Security Council, Tzachi Hanegbi, indicated that “contacts regarding the release of our hostages continue to advance and continue constantly.” And then he said that “the start of the releases will take place according to the original agreement between the parties, and not before tomorrow.”
Therefore, it was deduced that the release of the kidnapped people would be delayed for one day, but the four-day ceasefire would begin today, Thursday at 10 in the morning (one hour less in Spain), as the Israeli Government had announced on Wednesday. . But late in the morning, the main Israeli media began to report, citing military sources, that the start of the truce was also delayed until Friday and that the fighting would continue today, although there was still no official confirmation on this aspect.
On the other hand, the 150 Palestinian prisoners released will be mostly women and adolescents, without blood crimes, and will come from a list of 300 imprisoned Palestinians that the Israeli Government has published to mandatory inform the Supreme Court and allow any citizen to present allegations in against the freedom of any of them.
“In the coming days there will be moments
of pain and joy,” warns the spokesman for the armed forces
In principle, the release of the hostages would occur in stages, dividing their delivery between the different days of the truce. The agreement could be extended to a maximum of ten days of ceasefire from the release of the first hostages, provided that Hamas hands over ten more hostages per day.
The spokesman for the Israeli armed forces, Daniel Hagari, stated yesterday that the process of releasing the hostages is “complex”, “will take time” and will occur in “several stages”. Hagari added cryptically that “the next few days there will be moments of pain and moments of joy, which may include attempts at psychological terror” by Hamas.
The agreement involves the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza in the form of food, medical supplies and fuel, which will reach the strip through the Rafah crossing, in the south, bordering Egypt, where the kidnapped people are expected to leave after being handed over. to the Red Cross.
It is also expected that the hostages who remain in the hands of Hamas can be visited and medically assisted by the Red Cross, as confirmed last night by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a press conference in which he thanked the US president. , Joe Biden, his “diplomatic” help to achieve this agreement. As he had already reiterated on Tuesday when the deal was considered imminent, Netanyahu insisted that Israel intends to exert “maximum pressure” against Hamas. “I want to be clear, the war continues,” he said. “We will continue fighting until we achieve absolute victory” over Hamas, Netanyahu insisted.
But, above all, the release of the hostages has been possible thanks to the Government of Qatar, where the Hamas leaders reside. The main Qatari negotiator, diplomat Mohamed bin Abdulaziz al Julaifi, explained on CNN some details of the talks, which lasted several weeks, and said that Israel’s attack on the Al Shifa hospital delayed the agreement between parties that “do not have no level of trust between each other.”
“Our work was extremely intense,” he said. “This is a period of great tension, military clashes, humanitarian escalation and ground invasion,” added Al Julaifi. The diplomat assured that Qatar’s objective, beyond this truce, is to achieve “a permanent ceasefire, stop the bloodshed and improve the lives of the Palestinian people.”
Netanyahu confirms that the deal includes
that the Red Cross can visit and care for all the kidnapped people
The agreement was approved in a marathon and hectic meeting of the Israeli Council of Ministers, which lasted almost eight hours and continued until around four in the morning yesterday. Once again, the most far-right sector of the Netanyahu Government, led by the head of the Security portfolio, Itamar Ben Gvir, tried to boycott the consensus. Finally, the three ministers of the Otsma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party were the only ones in the Cabinet who voted against the deal with Hamas. Subsequently, Ben Gvir expressed his discomfort in X for an agreement that he described as a “dangerous precedent.”
However, the other far-right party in the Executive, Religious Zionism, led by the Minister of Finance, Bezalel Smotrich, did vote in favor of granting the truce and releasing Palestinian prisoners who did not have blood crimes, despite the fact that before the meeting had taken a stand against it. Smotrich explained that his change of position was due to having received guarantees that “the Government, the cabinet [de guerra] and the entire defense system were unreservedly committed to continuing the war until the destruction of Hamas.” Smotrich added in a statement that “the repatriation of the hostages will contribute to achieving the objectives of the war.”
Did the Pope use the word ‘genocide’?
The conflict in the Middle East reached the Vatican yesterday, where Pope Francis received, separately, both a delegation of relatives of Israeli hostages in Gaza and another of Palestinians with relatives living there. The Pontiff went one step further in condemning him by speaking of “terrorism” in the public audience every Wednesday. “Wars do this, but here we have gone beyond wars. “This is not a war, it is terrorism,” he indicated. But the dispute came when, later, the Palestinians told a press conference that the Pope classified Israel’s acts as “genocide.” “It was very clear, the word genocide It didn’t come from us, it came from His Holiness, Pope Francis,” said Shireen Hilal, who has lost two of her uncles due to the lack of anesthesia in Gaza. On the other hand, the spokesman for the Holy See, Matteo Bruni, denied it in a statement, maintaining that he is not aware that the Pope used this word. “He used the terms expressed during the general audience and words that in any case represent the terrible situation that exists in Gaza,” he indicated in the note. “Genocide It was the exact word he pronounced,” Yusef al Juri insisted. “In fact, in the first ten minutes he told us what he already knows about Gaza and described what is happening as a genocide.” / Anna Buj