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  • Writer's pictureThe Pinsker Centre

Israel-Hamas Temporary Ceasefire and Hostage Deal: What Happened?

Report by the Pinsker Centre


Following Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7th, where the terrorist organization took over 200 hostages from Israel into the Gaza strip, Israel and Hamas agreed to a hostage deal and temporary ceasefire to allow for the return of 110 civilians and foreign workers taken from their homes.[1] The seven-day break in fighting starting the morning of November 24th reveals the moral divide between Hamas and Israel: in exchange for receiving women, children, and elderly civilians back into their home, the Jewish state agreed to release around up to 300 Palestinians detained for terrorism charges from prisons.[2] Despite Israel holding to the terms of the truce and actively negotiating to extend the deal, Hamas unilaterally ended the ceasefire after the terrorist group refused to release more hostages and launched rockets at civilian targets in southern Israel.[3]

 

Source: CNN


What did the deal entail?

 

Due to negotiations mediated by Qatar, Egypt, and the United States, Israel agreed to allow humanitarian aid to go into Gaza, cease military operations and surveillance, and release Palestinian prisoners in exchange for a number of women, children, and elderly hostages to be released by Hamas. For seven days, Israel held to the agreement even as Hamas violated the terms of the agreement through an IED attack on Israeli soldiers.[4] Palestinian prisoners released were, unlike the hostages, not just civilians dragged from their burning homes. Most of the released prisoners were detained for violent attacks, such as the case of Marah Bakeer who was convicted of the attempted murder of a police officer.[5] The exchange deal was initially for four days, but subsequent negotiations led to daily extensions until Hamas cut off negotiations on December 1st.


How were the hostages treated by Hamas?

 

Hamas routinely disseminates propaganda framing its detention of hostages as humane, but this depiction is extremely far from the truth. Despite initially agreeing to allow the Red Cross to visit the hostages held underneath Gaza, Hamas blatantly ignored its own commitment and denied the civilians medical evaluation.[6] Despite the Red Cross being denied access, released prisoners were able to detail the horrifying conditions that the hostages have been held in: a released Thai foreign worker described Jewish prisoners being “beaten with electrical cables.”[7] More testimonies from hostages detail Hamas denying medical attention to the sick, beatings of children as young as 12, and starvation of those held in the vest tunnel network underneath the Gaza Strip.[8]


Why did the hostage deal collapse?

 

Despite efforts by Israel to extend the deal, compromising its own security needs due to a wish to bring every hostage home, Hamas unilaterally ended the agreement after it refused to offer any more hostages to be released.[9] After Hamas then launched rockets at Sderot as the ceasefire remained active, Israel responded by resuming its goal to destroy the terrorist organization that killed over 1,000 Israelis on October 7th and ruthlessly continues to aim for the destruction of the Jewish people.[10]

 

Sources


[1] MJ Lee, Alex Marquardt, and Becky Anderson, “Sources say Red Cross has not yet been allowed to visit hostages in Gaza – a violation of truce agreement,” CNN, 29 November 2023,

[2] “Thai hostages: ‘Jewish hostages beaten with electrical cables, held in worse conditions than us,” The Jerusalem Post, Reuters, 29 November 2023, https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/article-775760.

[3] Howard Goller, “Freed Israeli hostages tell families of beatings and death threats,” Reuters, 29 November 2023, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/freed-israeli-hostages-tell-families-beatings-death-threats-2023-11-29/.

[4] Barak Ravid, “How the Gaza ceasefire collapsed,” Axios, 2 December 2023, https://www.axios.com/2023/12/01/gaza-ceasefire-collapse-israel-hostages.

[5] Alexander Smith and Phil Helsel, “Israel resumes Gaza military operation after cease-fire with Hamas ends,” NBC News, 1 December 2023, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/israel-resumes-gaza-military-operation-hamas-cease-fire-ends-rcna127541. [6] MJ Lee, Alex Marquardt, and Becky Anderson, “Sources say Red Cross has not yet been allowed to visit hostages in Gaza – a violation of truce agreement,” CNN, 29 November 2023,

[7] “Thai hostages: ‘Jewish hostages beaten with electrical cables, held in worse conditions than us,” The Jerusalem Post, Reuters, 29 November 2023, https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/article-775760.

[8] Howard Goller, “Freed Israeli hostages tell families of beatings and death threats,” Reuters, 29 November 2023, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/freed-israeli-hostages-tell-families-beatings-death-threats-2023-11-29/.

[9] Barak Ravid, “How the Gaza ceasefire collapsed,” Axios, 2 December 2023, https://www.axios.com/2023/12/01/gaza-ceasefire-collapse-israel-hostages.

[10] Alexander Smith and Phil Helsel, “Israel resumes Gaza military operation after cease-fire with Hamas ends,” NBC News, 1 December 2023, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/israel-resumes-gaza-military-operation-hamas-cease-fire-ends-rcna127541.

 

 


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