Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised his people an ‘absolute victory’ against Hamas. Despite the temporary truce between both sides, for the Israeli authorities, the goals of conducting this conflict have not shifted.
While some are raising the case that a continued conflict would be an absolute disaster from a humanitarian perspective, more astute observers have agreed that a prolonged ceasefire at this stage of the conflict would only give more time to Hamas to regroup and reenter the conflict replenished.
With regards to the hostage crisis which has prompted the prevailing truce, senior Israeli officials have clarified that no hostages will be released before Friday. According to sources close to the government, the truce was meant to take hold from Thursday but has been delayed due to certain complications.
According to initial reports from Israel’s Foreign Minister, the first few hostages were supposed to be released on Thursday itself.
Owing to the complicated situation in Gaza, Israel has continued its ground and air assault on Hamas. According to the latest update from the Hamas backed Gaza Ministry of Health, the death toll has crossed 14,000, out of which 5,000 are said to be children.
The intended four day pause in hostilities between both sides is currently up for a toss. Since the initial stipulations of the deal mention that the pause in active combat will begin from 10 am on Thursday and that requirement has not been met, the efficacy of the entire deal has been brought into question.
While those related to the hostages have demanded that all civilians being held by Hamas must be returned to safety, UN’s Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA has stated that four days are not enough to make such a large-scale hostage release possible.
The pause is also quite significant in terms of the transport of much needed aid to Gaza. Trucks laden with medical aid, food, water and other essential supplies are lined up at the Rafah crossing with Egypt.
They are awaiting the pause in fighting to take effect but have been disappointed up till this point in time.
UNICEF has warned the international community that if the current situation persists Gaza will become the largest case of ‘child wasting’ in recent times, owing to a lack of food and water.