In a significant development, Israel and Hamas have brokered a four-day truce with the mediation of Qatar. This agreement entails the release of 50 women and children detained in Gaza, reciprocated by the release of 150 Palestinian women and children held in Israeli prisons.
The deal was announced on Wednesday, and the specific commencement time is anticipated to be confirmed within the next 24 hours, as stated by Qatar. Beyond the prisoner exchange, the agreement encompasses crucial humanitarian aid provisions for the people of Gaza. This aid comes in response to weeks of relentless Israeli attacks, resulting in the tragic loss of more than 14,100 lives, including 5,600 children, and displacing approximately 1.7 million individuals from their homes.
Hamas’s attack on Israel claimed the lives of about 1,200 people. As the news of the truce broke, various reactions emerged.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mao Ning
The Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed hopes that the move “will help alleviate the plight of the humanitarian crisis, promote the de-escalation of conflicts, and ease tensions”.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen
Von der Leyen welcomed the agreement reached between Israel and Hamas on the release of 50 captives and a pause in hostilities in Gaza.
“The European Commission will do its utmost to use this pause for a humanitarian surge to Gaza,” she said in a statement.
Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna
Foreign Affairs Minister Catherine Colonna stated: “We hope there will be French people among the first batch of hostages to be released.”
Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi
The Jordanian foreign minister expressed some dismay about the deal, saying a “broader plan for Gaza” is needed and warning against the risk of ethnic cleansing.
Despite the truce deal, there is still a huge gap in the delivery of necessary humanitarian aid, and the future of the residents of northern Gaza is in jeopardy, he added. “People must be empowered to remain in their homes, not displaced.”
Furthermore, Safadi said, the situation in the West Bank is deteriorating with “potential for an explosion of violence getting very high”.
Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani
Sheikh Mohammed wrote on X that the Gulf state hoped the deal would “establish a comprehensive and sustainable agreement” to “end the war and the bloodshed and lead to serious talks for a comprehensive and just peace process”.
Foreign Minister David Cameron
Cameron stated that the pause was a “crucial step towards providing relief to the families of the hostages and addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
“I urge all parties to ensure the agreement is delivered in full,” Cameron said.
President Joe Biden
Biden welcomed the deal and thanked Qatar and Egypt for their efforts to secure the agreement.
“Jill and I have been keeping all those held hostages and their loved ones close to our hearts these many weeks, and I am extraordinarily gratified that some of these brave souls, who have endured weeks of captivity and an unspeakable ordeal, will be reunited with their families once this deal is fully implemented,” he said in a statement.
He stressed it needed to be “carried through in its entirety” and that it was “important that all aspects of this deal be fully implemented”.
UNICEF executive director Catherine Russell
Russell, who has recently returned from a trip to southern Gaza, welcomed the agreement to pause the fighting but said the truce was not enough to save lives.
“For children to survive…, for humanitarian workers to stay and effectively deliver…, humanitarian pauses are simply not enough,” she told the UN Security Council.
Russell called for “an urgent humanitarian ceasefire to stop this carnage immediately.”
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