Despite mutual accusations of violations of the ceasefire, the truce between Israel and Hamas in Gaza was maintained this Tuesday for the fifth consecutive day, in which the Palestinian militias released 12 hostages in the Strip and the Israeli authorities released 30 Palestinian prisoners .
CHundreds of Palestinians gathered in the streets of Ramallah on Tuesday night to welcome 30 Palestinian prisoners freed by Israel in the latest exchange with hostages held by Hamas.
This was the fifth day of the temporary truce between Israel and Hamas, after agreeing to a 48-hour extension.
As has been customary since this agreement began to be implemented on Friday, the Gaza hostages left through the Rafah crossing with Egypt and then entered Israeli territory, while the Palestinians were transferred from various Israeli jails to the prison of Ofer and the Jerusalem detention center, and from there they were released to the West Bank or the Holy City.
Celebrations also among the Israelis gathered in Sederot, to receive the freed hostages.
Hamas and other militants are still holding about 160 hostages of the 240 captured in their Oct. 7 assault on southern Israel.
An Israeli government spokesman has said it would be open to an additional five days of truce under the current hostage and prisoner exchange agreement.
During the lull in fighting, the United Nations World Food Program has delivered desperately needed aid to more than 120,000 people in Gaza. The UN has reiterated that the supplies it has been able to provide are woefully insufficient to address the level of hunger and need caused by Israel to the people of Gaza.
Samer AbdeljaberCountry Director of WFP Palestine explains: “Hundreds of thousands of people face an immediate risk of starvation. WFP hopes that this pause will be extended, offering a window of relief that could pave the way for a calm long term. Safe, unimpeded access cannot stop now.”
Although there seems to be a willingness to extend the truce that will end after another exchange of prisoners and hostages this Wednesday night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu assures that he will resume the war with full force.
While the Gazans take advantage of the cessation of fighting for the extensive devastation of the enclave, where in the last 24 hours some 160 bodies of dead Palestinians were removed from under rubble, while it is estimated that there are still 6,500 people missing, beyond the 15,000 dead by confirmed Israeli bombings.
According to Hamas, some 250,000 families have been left homeless after Israeli attacks caused material damage to some 300,000 homes in the enclave, including 50,000 completely destroyed and another 250,000 homes partially destroyed.
At the same time, the Government of Gaza continued to warn of the serious humanitarian crisis in the enclave caused by the almost total Israeli siege that vetoed access to food, water, fuel or medical supplies during some 50 days of war, which is still causing cuts. of electricity due to the lack of gasoline for the generators.
This shortage began to ease after the access of two hundred trucks with humanitarian aid daily since Friday, but according to Gaza authorities it is not enough to meet the basic needs of the 2.3 million inhabitants of Gaza.
Added to the “humanitarian catastrophe” is “the arrival of winter and the rains”, so not having fuel for electricity will be another added challenge as temperatures drop.
Despite a possible additional extension of the ceasefire, Israel has insisted that once more hostages are freed, it will attack Gaza again with its goal of eradicating Hamas.
“The Israeli Army is prepared to continue fighting, and we take advantage of the days of pause to learn” and “approve future operational plans,” Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi said today, adding that “the dismantling of Hamas will continue, another warning that its military operation on Gaza “will continue.”