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Sabra Express | Ceasefire Stalemate

i24NEWS, December 21st, 2023

 

Recap:

Hamas officially refused a one-week truce offered by Israel.

 

The Context:

·      Hamas, the terror group that controls Gaza, sent thousands of terrorists into Israel on October 7th, killing 1,200 people, and taking 240, mostly civilian, hostages. It is believed that 129 hostages remain in Gaza [1]. Almost 100,000 Israelis remain displaced by the war and Israel continues to see rocket fire from Hamas in the South and Hezbollah in the North. 1.9 million Palestinians – about 90% of Gaza’s population – have fled their homes since the start of the war. Almost 20,000 Gazans, including 8,000 terrorists, have been killed [2].

·      A previous Israel-Hamas agreement mediated by Qatar and Egypt led to a week-long truce at the end of November during which Hamas released 86 women and children in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. Hamas also released 24 foreign nationals during the pause in fighting [3].

·      Hamas rejected an Israeli proposal for a week-long truce in return for the release of 40 hostages, including all women and children the terror group still holds [4]. The deal would’ve expanded the humanitarian zones in Gaza, as well as the amount of aid being delivered to the besieged enclave [5]. Israel also expressed a willingness to release aged and infirmed Palestinian prisoners convicted of serious attacks [6]. Senior Hamas official Ghazi Hamad said, “we want to stop the war in Gaza [7],” while Israel, which has decimated Hamas’s terror infrastructure, said the fighting will not end until the group is destroyed [8].

·      The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) announced earlier this week that it had accidentally killed three Israeli hostages that it mistakenly perceived as a threat during a ground operation in northern Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “the entire state of Israel mourn[s] [9].” The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is expected to vote on a resolution calling for a halt in fighting.

 

Conversation Points:

·      What does Hamas’s refusal say about how it perceives its position?

·      How did the tragic killing of 3 hostages by the IDF shape Israel’s willingness to negotiate a new truce?

·      Why doesn’t the international community place more emphasis on Hamas’s agency and responsibility during this conflict?

 

Notes:

 

3.     Ibid.

5.     Hamas and Israel open to weeklong truce to free 40 hostages: reports, Ronny Reyes, New York Post, December 20th, 2023.

6.     Israel tells Qatar that they're ready for week-long truce for 40 hostages, Barak Ravid, Jerusalem Post, December 19th, 2023.

8.     Hamas and Israel open to weeklong truce to free 40 hostages: reports, Ronny Reyes, New York Post, December 20th, 2023.

9.     Israel Offers Week-Long Cease-Fire in Exchange For 40 Hostages, Molly Bohannon, Forbes, December 20th, 2023.

 

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