The Washington Post has reported a breakthrough in the ongoing conflict in Gaza, revealing that a tentative deal, brokered by the U.S. and Qatar as intermediaries between Israel and Hamas, has been reached. This deal proposes a five-day pause from the fighting in exchange for releasing at least 50 women and children that are being held hostage currently by Hamas.
According to the report, the agreement stipulates that no men or soldiers, regardless of gender, would be released. This arrangement marks a potential turning point, potentially leading to the first pause in the conflict in Gaza. The specifics of the deal, as outlined in a detailed six-page deal, involve freezing combat operations for a minimum of five days while an initial group of 50 or more hostages is released in increments every 24 hours.
The total number of hostages, believed to be around 239, who would be freed under this deal remains unclear. The agreement also includes provisions for overhead surveillance to monitor ground movements and ensure compliance with the pause in hostilities.
This development comes amidst Israel’s firm stance to eliminate Hamas and its leadership, coupled with efforts to secure the release of around 240 hostages. The Israeli government has been negotiating indirectly with Hamas to this end.
Public pressure for resolution has been mounting in Israel. Thousands of protesters, including many family members of the hostages, marched from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, demanding a government meeting and advocating for the release of the hostages. While the demonstrators recognize that Hamas is responsible for the hostages’ captivity, they are keen to ensure that the Israeli government is exhaustively pursuing their release.
To date, Hamas has released only four hostages, all women. Israeli soldiers have also managed to free one female hostage. Additionally, at least two bodies of hostages were discovered close to Shifa Hospital, an area where Israel is performing extensive searches.
This tentative deal, if successful, could be a significant step towards de-escalating the ongoing conflict in Gaza, offering a brief but crucial window for humanitarian relief and potentially paving the way for more substantial negotiations.