The United States, Egypt and Qatar are advancing negotiations for a possible two or three-day truce in the Israel’s war in the Gaza Strip, in exchange for Hamas releasing between 10 and 15 hostages. The Lebanese television channel Al Mayadeen indicated that the pause could begin this Thursday, but the exact duration has not yet been confirmed, nor whether the cessation of hostilities would be complete in northern Gaza.
The number of hostages changes according to official sources, who have been revealing details of the agreement in recent hours. What is known is that half of the hostages who would be released are American nationals. The pact coincides with the official trip to several countries in the region, CIA director William Burns. It seems that the intelligence chief would have persuaded the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been refusing for weeks to agree to a ceasefire or “humanitarian pause” in the war without the release of hostages.
The president had not even given in to the pressure of the American president, Joe Biden, who repeatedly asked him to pause in telephone conversations about the matter. If carried out, the agreement would also allow more humanitarian aid, including limited amounts of fuel, to enter the Strip. The delivery of resources is key after a month of fighting and blockade by Israel, which has caused a serious deterioration in the living conditions of the 2.2 million Palestinians residing in the Strip.
The World Health Organization (WHO) denounced this Wednesday that the risk of spreading diseases in the Strip increases due to the Israeli bombings, which have affected the health system, access to drinking water and which have forced the population to crowd into shelters. “As deaths and injuries in Gaza continue to rise due to escalating hostilities, severe overcrowding, and disrupted health, water and sanitation systems pose an added danger: the rapid spread of infectious diseases“said the WHO. The organization has detected more than 33,500 cases of diarrhea in the last two weeks, mostly among children under five years of age.
On Thursday morning, the Israeli Army announced a new four-hour window for the population in the north of the Strip to move south. At least 50,000 people have crossed in recent dayssaid the Israeli General Staff. “They are moving because they understand that Hamas has lost control in the north,” said Daniel Hagari, an army spokesman.