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Israel considering which Palestinian prisoners to free

November 22, 2023 at 11:11 am

Palestinians, holding banners and photos of their relatives, gather to stage a demonstration on demanding release of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails in front of International Committee of the Red Cross building in Ramallah, West Bank on November 21, 2023 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

The Israeli Ministry of Justice released the names of 300 Palestinian prisoners, including children and women, in order to give stakeholders the opportunity to petition the courts to stop their release in any deal with the Palestinian resistance.

Details of a truce-for-hostage agreement have been revealed today with 50 Israeli prisoners of war expected to be released in exchange for more than 150 Palestinians held in Israeli jails and a four-day truce. Women and children are expected to be released in the deal.

Israel has released the names of 300 Palestinians as it expects further deals to be made, sources with knowledge of the arrangements have said.

Today’s deal comes following Qatari, Egyptian and US mediation.

READ: Hamas and Israel ‘close’ to truce and prisoner exchange deal

The Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement: “We announce the success of the joint Qatari mediation efforts with Egypt and the US between Israel and Hamas.”

“The mediation efforts resulted in reaching a humanitarian truce agreement, the start of which will be announced within 24 hours.”

The ministry confirmed that the humanitarian truce will last for four days, subject to extension, and the agreement includes the release of 50 women and children prisoners of war held in Gaza in exchange for Israel’s release of 150 Palestinian women and children held in detention.

“The numbers of those released will be increased in later stages of implementing the agreement,” said the ministry.

The Qatari Foreign Ministry confirmed that “the truce will allow the entry of a larger amount of relief aid, including fuel designated for humanitarian needs.”

The Israeli Broadcasting Authority said: “After about six hours of the meeting, the Israeli government agreed to an agreement with Hamas to release about 50 children and elderly women captives in Gaza over a period of four days, during which there will be a ceasefire.”

It added in a statement published on its website: “The release of every ten additional captives will give them an additional day of rest.”

Israeli ministers were informed that the first group of prisoners of war would be released tomorrow, according to the broadcasting authority.

It noted that the occupation government stressed this is “the first phase of the plan to return all the captives to their homes. The war will continue to return all those captured and to completely eliminate Hamas.”

READ: Prisoner swap deal ‘only way’ to release prisoners of war held in Gaza 

Hamas said: “After difficult and complex negotiations for many days, we announce, with the help and success of God Almighty, that we have reached a humanitarian truce agreement (temporary ceasefire) for a period of four days, with persistent and appreciated Qatari and Egyptian efforts.”

According to a Hamas statement, the truce includes “a ceasefire from both sides, a cessation of all military actions by the occupation army in all areas of the Gaza Strip and stopping the advancement of its military vehicles into the Gaza Strip.”

The agreement also includes “the entry of hundreds of trucks with humanitarian, relief, medical, and fuel aid to all areas of the Gaza Strip, without exception, both in the north and south.”

It also includes “the release of 50 women and children from the occupation’s captives under the age of 19, in exchange for the release of 150 of our women and children imprisoned in the occupation prisons under the age of 19, all according to seniority.”