Israel and the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas began complying with the agreement and suspended fighting in the Gaza Strip at 7am this Friday (2am Brasília time).
The ceasefire is one of the provisions of the first major pact signed between the two since they started fighting each other, around a month and a half ago.
The clause that motivated the negotiations, the release of hostages by Hamas, is scheduled for 10 am (4 pm in Brasília), however — it is at this time that the first group of individuals kidnapped from Gaza should leave towards Egypt, for middle of the Rafah crossing.
In the following three days — during which the truce remains in force — three more groups made up of 12 to 13 women and children under 19 must follow the same route, each on a different day.
The plan is for them to be first handed over by the terrorists to the Red Crescent, the Islamic world’s version of the Red Cross, and then sent to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to be returned to their families.
Thus, it is expected that, at the end of the four-day ceasefire, at least 50 of the total of 240 people kidnapped by Hamas in its brutal incursion into Israeli territory on October 7th, which left 1,200 dead and served as a trigger for the current conflict, were released .
The number of those released may be even greater, since Tel Aviv established that it would extend the truce for another 24 hours for each new group of ten hostages released by the terrorists.
The consideration for the release of the hostages is the release of 150 Palestinian women and children under 18 currently detained in Israeli prisons. Many of them were arrested without prior trial, and for less serious crimes, such as throwing stones at Israeli soldiers, making explosives, causing damage to property and maintaining contacts with hostile organizations. Furthermore, none of them are accused of murder.
These are not the only terms of the agreement. Another of them, announced by Hamas, is the suspension of Israeli air traffic over northern Gaza from 10 am to 4 pm local time (5 am to 11 am in Brasília), and the total interruption of flights over the south during the period.
Residents of cities in the region say relieved at the prospect of not having to live with frequent bombings, even for a few days. Since the Israeli Army began its offensive in the strip on October 7, more than 14,800 Palestinians have died, according to calculations by the Gaza Ministry of Health, the majority of them civilians.
Under the terms of the agreement, Hamas stated that it will again allow the movement of people along Salah Al-Din Street, the main route used by Palestinians to go to the south of Gaza as long as Israel sets an ultimatum to empty the northern portion of the strip.
Other clauses include permission for the passage of 200 trucks of humanitarian aid and 4 trucks of fuel per day to Gaza, in an attempt to alleviate the crisis experienced by the local population, who are almost without food and lack medical care. And permission for the Red Cross to check the situation of hostages still being held in Gaza under Hamas.
The entire operation will be monitored from Doha, the capital of Qatar. The country was the main coordinator of the agreement, which also included the participation of the United States and Egypt, and maintains direct lines of communication with Israel, political leaders of Hamas and the Red Cross.
Before the agreement, only four other people had been released by Hamas, also after Qatari mediation. On October 20, two American women were released. Then, on the 23rd, it was the turn of two more women, both elderly Israelis.
Negotiations for the release of hostages have been a focus of tension for Binyamin Netanyahu’s government since the start of the conflict. Protesters put pressure on the prime minister in almost daily acts that demand more efforts for the release of the victims, accusing him of leaving the issue in the background.