Israel and Hamas extend truce and initiate hostage release

Israel and Hamas extend their fragile truce as hostage exchange continues between both parties.

Israel and Hamas extend truce agreement. (Image Credits: CNN)
Israel and Hamas extend truce agreement. (Image Credits: CNN)

Israel and Hamas have found some stability through a truce agreement which seemed shaky at first but has begun bearing fruit over the past few days. As a result, hostages and prisoners have been released from both sides and the process is expected to continue for the time being.

As of Tuesday, the truce is in its 5th day and has seen the terms of the original agreement being met by both sides. Since Friday, Hamas has released 69 hostages, of both Israeli and foreign origin. It is important to note that Hamas had taken 240 hostages in total, while killing 1,200 people, during the attack conducted on October 7th.

On the other side, the Israel Prison Service released 150 Palestinians as a part of the agreement. Israel’s initial offensive in the northern region of Gaza has resulted in the deaths of 15,000 Palestinians, while displacing hundreds of thousands.

As long as the truce holds there are expectations that both sides will use the lull in fighting to exchange hostages and prisoners to ease the suffering of civilians who are being used as bargaining chips in this conflict.

It is understood though, that the truce will end at some point as Israel has made its intentions to continue its fight against Hamas quite clear. Hamas on the other hand will benefit from an extended truce which allows its fighters to gather resources and re-engage with the Israeli Army with a renewed focus.

The IDF is aiming at mitigating such an eventuality by going on the offensive once more before Hamas operatives can recover.

On the international front though, most nations have used forums such as the United Nations to bargain for peace and a ceasefire that endures, rather than a temporary break to the fighting.

There have also been calls from with in Israel to secure the release of more hostages as their families try to find ways to bring their loved ones back to safety. In this case, Hamas understands that the release of all hostages would be detrimental to their cause as they would lose their main bargaining chip.

In such a situation, Israel’s offensive is likely to be even more indiscriminate and unforgiving than it has already been. A reality that is hard to imagine considering the severity of the bombing campaign up till this point in the conflict.

With the calls for a permanent ceasefire coming in thick and fast, the United States have maintained their support for Israel’s offensive while reiterating their stance against the loss of civilians lives in the form of collateral damage.