Israel Agrees to Ceasefire if Hostages Are Freed

The Israeli government has approved a deal for the release of hostages captured by Hamas in exchange for a brief ceasefire in Gaza.

The decision was announced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office in a WhatsApp message early Wednesday, according to the New York Times. In exchange for a 4-day pause in the fighting, the agreement would see the release of at least 50 hostages held captive in Gaza, per a government statement. During this short period, Israel had agreed not to attack or arrest anyone in Gaza. This would mark the longest truce in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war since it began on Oct. 7.

“The Israeli government is committed to the return of all abductees home,” the government said, per NYT. The statement continued: “Tonight, the government approved the outline for the first stage of achieving this goal, according to which at least 50 abductees — women and children — will be released for 4 days, during which there will be a lull in the fighting. The release of every 10 additional abductees will result in an additional day of respite.”

Since Hamas’ deadly Oct. 7 attack on Israel, Hamas and its allies in Gaza have seized about 240 hostages, and roughly 1,200 people have died, according to Israeli authorities. More than 11,000 Palestinians have been killed since the Israeli airstrikes and ground assaults on Gaza began, according to health officials in the Hamas-controlled territory, and nearly 1.7 million people have been displaced in Gaza since the conflict erupted, a UN agency stated.

Prior to the Israeli Cabinet vote, Netanyahu vowed to continue the war after the temporary truce. “We are at war, and we will continue the war,” said Netanyahu. “We will continue until we achieve all our goals.”

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