In the ravaged and weary landscape of Gaza, the fifth day of ceasefire between Israel and Hamas brings a fragile calm. It comes after a grueling 49-day war that left thousands dead and annihilated nearly half of Gaza's residential and service institutions. The truce, extended by an additional two days, holds a thread of hope for the possibility of further extension.
In the initial days of the ceasefire, Israel and Hamas orchestrated an exchange of captives. A total of 150 Palestinian prisoners and 50 Israeli hostages found their way back home. Hamas also released 19 Asian workers, with the promise of 60 more prisoners and 20 hostages to follow suit in the coming days.
The Israeli Prime Minister's office announced that the government is considering the addition of 50 Palestinian female prisoners to the list of potential releases, contingent on the release of more Israeli hostages during the extension period. Hamas, on its part, sought to negotiate the terms under which it will release hostages, beyond the women and children already released.
Humanitarian Aid and Gaza's Dire Circumstances
With the ceasefire holding, humanitarian aid has started to trickle into Gaza. However, the volume is far from enough to cater to the needs of the 2.3 million Palestinians who have suffered weeks of blockade and Israeli bombardment. United Nations data reveals that 248 trucks laden with humanitarian aid, medical supplies, and fuel entered Gaza in the first four days of the truce. Yet, these figures are a mere 5% of the volume of aid that entered before the war.
Egypt's Minister of Social Solidarity, Dr. Nevin Al-Kabbaj, inspected the Rafah crossing, observing around 1,370 trucks, with over 32,000 tons of support delivered. However, the UNRWA spokesperson expressed a necessity for 200 trucks to enter daily for at least two consecutive months to respond to the urgent humanitarian needs of the region.