Truce Extends As Hostage Swap Continues

Israel says it is willing to continue the ceasefire “as long as Hamas continues to release hostages”….reports Asian Lite News

Just minutes before it was set to expire, the Israeli military on Thursday announced that an agreement was reached to extend the humanitarian truce in Gaza for a seventh day. Thursday’s extension is the second of the initial four-day truce that commenced on November 24.

The original four-day truce in Gaza which was first implemented on November 24 and extended for two more days on Tuesday. It was set to expire at 7 a.m. local time on Thursday.

In a brief statement, the military said: “In light of the mediators’ efforts to continue the process of releasing the hostages and subject to the terms of the framework, the operational pause will continue.”

Hamas also confirmed the extension of the truce for a seventh day in a statement. Since the start of the pause, 210 Palestinians, 70 Israelis, and 24 foreign nationals have reportedly been released.

On Wednesday — the sixth day of the truce — 16 more hostages were released from Gaza, comprising 10 Israelis, four Thai nationals and two Israeli-Russians. Also in the day, 30 Palestinians were also freed from Israeli jails.

‘Truce Will Extend Everyday As Long As..’

Ahead of the military’s announcement, Mark Regev, a senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Thursday said the humanitarian truce in Gaza will extend for every day the Hamas militant group releases 10 “living” hostages.

“Every day, we agreed to an extension for the release of 10 hostages, 10 living hostages… If Hamas continues to release hostages, 10 a day, we will extend the hold — the pause.”

When asked if the fighting would resume within the next 24 hours, Regev told CNN that “if Hamas fails to meet the conditions of the extension, which is to release 10 Israelis, then of course the fighting can be resumed”.

According to the senior advisor, there were are still at least 140 hostages inside Gaza. He went on to say that the Jewish nation accepted the current agreement of a humanitarian pause “to get our hostages out, that could be extended each day for a day”.

Asked about negotiations on any further agreements, Regev told CNN: “This is a humanitarian pause in our fight against Hamas, Israel is determined to destroy Hamas’ military machine and its rule over Gaza.

“We are not going to play games with the lives of our people… Hamas knows what the parameters of the deal are.”

UAE Welcomes Truce Extension

The UAE has welcomed the announcement to extend the humanitarian pause in the Gaza Strip by two days, and the continued exchange of detainees between the Palestinians and Israel, expressing hope this development leads to a permanent ceasefire.

In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) commended the efforts of the State of Qatar, the Arab Republic of Egypt, and the United States, to extend the humanitarian pause, allowing for the exchange of hostages, detainees, and captives, and the delivery of relief aid and humanitarian assistance. The Ministry expressed its aspirations for the agreement to expedite an end to the crisis and prevent further suffering for the brotherly Palestinian people.

Furthermore, the Ministry expressed its hope that this step will facilitate the immediate, safe, sustainable, and unhindered delivery of relief and humanitarian aid, particularly to the most vulnerable groups, including the sick, children, the elderly, and women.

The UAE stresses the importance of returning to negotiations to achieve the two-state solution with an independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. The UAE will continue working alongside the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross, to intensify efforts aimed at providing the needed support and assistance to the endeavours aiming to alleviate the humanitarian suffering in Gaza.

MBZ, Biden Hold Talks

President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan discussed bilateral relations and regional developments during a telephone conversation with his US counterpart Joe Biden.

The call underscored the significance of the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) in mobilising global cooperation to forge effective solutions to the climate crisis, ensuring a sustainable future for all nations.

The two leaders also reviewed the latest developments in the Palestinian territories, and reaffirmed the importance of maintaining a permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and establishing lasting and secure mechanisms for delivering humanitarian aid to its residents without hindrance.

They also underscored the imperative of charting a course towards a comprehensive, just, and enduring peace in the Middle East region, with the two-state solution serving as the cornerstone for realising regional security, stability, and peace.

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