The fragile ceasefire between Israel and Hamas entered its fifth day on Tuesday, November 28th, 2023, marked by a significant exchange of hostages for Palestinian prisoners. As part of the deal, Hamas released 12 hostages, including 10 Israeli citizens and 2 foreigners, who were transported to Egypt. In return, Israel released 30 Palestinian prisoners.
Mediation Efforts in Qatar
Mediators convened in Qatar to discuss extending the ceasefire beyond Wednesday, despite a fire exchange in Northern Gaza that highlighted the tension in the region. Despite accusations from both sides of ceasefire violations, no reports suggested that the truce was at risk.
The United States has urged Israel to avoid significant displacement of Palestinian civilians and to act with precision if military operations resume. Top US officials, including CIA Director William Burns and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, are involved in discussions to extend the ceasefire and facilitate the release of more hostages.
Remaining Hostages and Future Prospects
Hamas is still holding about 160 people out of the 240 captured during an October assault, a fact that could extend the ceasefire by a further two weeks. Israel has pledged to end Hamas's rule in Gaza and crush its military capability, implying an expansion of the ground offensive with potential grave humanitarian consequences, as Egypt has refused to receive refugees and the borders remain sealed.