In an unprecedented turn of events, a truce agreement between Israel and Hamas on November 27 led to the release of 11 hostages, including three dual citizens of France who had been in captivity for 51 days. The successful negotiation and release of the hostages were facilitated by the intermediary role of Qatar, a role that earned accolades from France's Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna.
Colonna, during an interview with RTL, acknowledged Qatar's pivotal role in the challenging negotiations. She recognized Qatar as a neutral player, owing to its lack of a regional agenda and good relations with the United States, Israel, and parts of the West. The political bureau of Hamas has been housed in Qatar for over a decade, enhancing Qatar's influential role in the negotiations.
Israeli Hostages and the Truce
All 11 Israeli prisoners released on Monday are dual nationals. The Israelis freed from Gaza include 3 French, 2 German, and 6 Argentinian citizens. The release was confirmed by the Israeli embassy in Argentina. The defense minister of Israel warned of a stronger force against Hamas following the truce.
There was an extension of the truce agreement between Israel and Hamas by two days. This extension was aimed at allowing further exchanges of hostages and Palestinian prisoners, thereby offering a glimmer of hope for the resolution of the conflict. The French government confirmed that three of those released were dual Israeli French citizens.
Despite a few disagreements on the fourth day of exchanges, the truce was extended until Thursday morning, paving the way for the possible release of approximately 20 more people held hostage by Hamas. This news will likely bolster hopes for families of the approximately 175 Israelis and foreigners still held in Gaza.