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Israel ready for new humanitarian pause in Gaza for hostage release: President

December 19, 2023 at 5:36 pm

Israeli President Isaac Herzog [Dursun Aydemir – Anadolu Agency]

Israel is ready for a second humanitarian pause in the Gaza Strip to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas, President Isaac Herzog said Tuesday, Anadolu Agency reports.

I can reiterate the fact that Israel is ready for another humanitarian pause and additional humanitarian aid in order to enable the release of hostages

Herzog said during a meeting with ambassadors of 80 countries.

“The responsibility lies fully with [Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya] Sinwar and the leadership of Hamas,” he added.

A previous week-long humanitarian pause last month saw the release of 84 Israelis and 24 foreigners by Hamas in exchange for 240 Palestinians from Israeli jails, including 71 women and 169 children.

Herzog said that Israel

was not in a war with the Palestinian people, but was fighting its enemy Hamas

There was no comment from Hamas on the Israeli President’s statements.

Israel’s air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip since the 7 October attacks by Hamas have killed at least 19,667 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injured 52,586 others, according to health authorities in the enclave.

The war has left Gaza in ruins, with half of the coastal territory’s housing damaged or destroyed, and nearly 2 million people displaced within the densely-populated enclave amid shortages of food and clean water.

Nearly 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack, while more than 130 hostages remain in captivity.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

READ: UN agencies voice anger at Gaza hospital attacks, depravation