After the violence has ceased for seven days, since the 24th, this Friday the agreement between Israel and the Islamist group Hamas for a cessation of hostilities and the daily exchange of ten Israeli hostages for 30 Palestinian prisoners ended.
Israel has justified the resumption of attacks by a violation of the pause by Hamas. “Hamas violated the operational pause and also fired into Israeli territory. “The Israel Defense Forces have resumed fighting against the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip,” the Army said in a statement. The Gaza Ministry of the Interior has said that “Israeli aircraft are flying over the Strip and their vehicles have opened fire in the northwest of the enclave.”
The mediators, led by Qatar, have not been able to get Israel and Hamas to agree to extend the truce, which was extended for two days last Monday and another day, on Thursday, in extremis. The spokesman for the Qatari Foreign Ministry, Majed Al Ansari, had declared this morning that “intense efforts continue with the aim of achieving a permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.” Qatar, Egypt and the United States have mediated between the two parties, although with difficulties. Weeks of talks were necessary to reach the first agreement and, every day since last Friday, it has not been easy to agree on the release of a number of Israeli hostages held by Hamas and the release of Palestinian prisoners and minors in Israeli prisons.
In the past six days, until Thursday the 30th, 97 captives have been released (73 Israelis and 24 foreigners) in exchange for 210 Palestinian prisoners. The release of the foreigners kidnapped by Hamas has been obtained in parallel negotiations between the Islamists and the respective countries of origin of the hostages, outside the agreement sealed between Hamas and Israel.
The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, who visited Israel this Thursday for the fourth time since the outbreak of the conflict on October 7, has noted “a very positive evolution in the last week.” “From day one, we focused tirelessly on trying to achieve the release of the hostages in Gaza,” said Blinken, who was seeking (?) an extension of the truce.
The United States has pushed for a ceasefire after backing Israel in the first weeks of its offensive on the Gaza Strip, which killed more than 15,000 people between October 7 and the truce taking effect. , on November 24, according to data from the Gazan Government (controlled by Hamas).
Israel has promised on several occasions that, when the truce ends, it will resume its military campaign in Gaza – where its troops have remained deployed in the north – until it achieves its main objective: “dismantling Hamas.” The Biden Administration has asked for more details about how it will do so and also for caution from the Israeli Army in its advance towards southern Gaza, where hundreds of thousands of displaced people from the rest of the enclave have left.
According to UN figures, two thirds of the inhabitants of the Palestinian enclave have had to leave their homes due to violence since the 7th. In the week of truce, some returned but found their houses uninhabitable or badly affected by the attacks. Israelis (who have destroyed or damaged some 300,000 homes). During the cessation of the bombings, Gazans have also taken the opportunity to search for the missing, who were probably buried when their houses collapsed – local authorities estimate that around 6,500 people are under the rubble.
Another of the main aspects of the agreement between Israel and Hamas was the entry of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, to which hundreds of trucks with humanitarian aid, medical supplies, gasoline and cooking gas have been able to access in recent days. Only during the implementation of the truce have tanker trucks arrived from Egypt, through the Rafah border crossing, with fuel and cooking gas, both essential for Gazans. Humanitarian organizations have called for the flow of food, water, fuel and medical supplies to continue, and increase, to alleviate the suffering of civilians.