Hamas Proposes Hostage Release for Gaza Truce
Development in the Israel-Gaza Conflict
The Hamas militant group’s armed wing has approached Qatari mediators with a significant proposal. On Monday, they announced their readiness to release 70 women and children held in Gaza. This offer comes with a condition: a five-day ceasefire agreement with Israel.
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Ceasefire Details: Humanitarian Aid as a Priority
Abu Ubaida, the spokesperson for Hamas’ Alqassam Brigades, emphasized the ceasefire terms in a recorded statement. “The truce should encompass a complete halt in hostilities and ensure the delivery of aid and humanitarian relief across the Gaza Strip,” he said. The statement, distributed via the group’s Telegram channel, highlights their focus on humanitarian aid.
Accusations of Delays in Negotiations
In his statement, Ubaida accused Israel of delaying and avoiding the terms of the proposed truce, adding tension to the ongoing conflict.
Background: Escalation of Hostilities
The context of this proposal traces back to last month’s events. Israel launched a campaign targeting Hamas, the governing body of the Gaza Strip, following attacks by Hamas gunmen in southern Israel. These attacks led to civilian casualties. According to Israeli reports, approximately 1,200 people died, with 240 being taken to Gaza as hostages.
Gaza’s Rising Death Toll
As of Monday, the Gaza Strip’s death toll stood at 11,240, per the Hamas-controlled government’s media office. This figure includes 4,630 children and 3,130 women since October 7.
Military Accusations and Hospital Controversy
The Israeli military has raised serious allegations against Hamas, claiming they used a children’s hospital in Gaza for military purposes. Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari presented evidence, including videos and photos, purportedly showing Hamas’ use of Rantissi Hospital’s basement for storing weapons and creating living quarters. These allegations, however, are disputed by Hamas and Gaza hospital authorities and have yet to be independently verified.
Humanitarian Crisis at Al Shifa Hospital
The siege around Gaza City’s Al Shifa Hospital has led to a humanitarian crisis. Israeli tanks at the hospital’s gates and the ongoing conflict have resulted in severe shortages, impacting patients, including newborns. The Gaza health ministry’s report of patient deaths, including infants, due to these shortages, highlights the dire situation.
Israeli Prime Minister’s Stance
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described the current military campaign as a “war to the end.” In a recent statement, he stressed the seriousness of the situation and Israel’s determination to continue the campaign, highlighting a potential escalation in the conflict.
The international community, particularly US President Joe Biden, has shown concern over the situation in Gaza. Biden emphasized the importance of protecting medical facilities like Al Shifa Hospital and expressed hope for a resolution that minimizes harm to civilians.
A Call for Peace
The ongoing conflict in Gaza, marked by its humanitarian impact and complex political dynamics, continues to draw global attention. The world awaits the outcome of the proposed truce by Hamas and Israel’s response, hoping for a resolution that leads to lasting peace and stability in the region.