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134 Palestinians return to Gaza from Egypt on 1st day of humanitarian pause

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Muhammad Jawad
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134 Palestinians return to Gaza from Egypt on 1st day of humanitarian pause

Strains of anticipation and relief marked the first day of the humanitarian pause between Hamas and Israel. A significant movement of people and aid occurred between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. As the day unfolded, 134 Palestinians returned to Gaza from Egypt, and Egyptian authorities facilitated the entry of 200 aid trucks and two ambulances into Gaza.

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Humanitarian Aid and Prisoner Exchange

Additionally, 29 injured individuals and 15 others journeyed to Egypt from Gaza through the Rafah crossing. A prisoner exchange also took place, with Israel and Hamas swapping 24 Israelis and foreigners for 39 Palestinians from Israeli jails. These exchanges, along with the release of hostages, are part of an agreement that is set to be executed in batches over the four-day pause.

(Read Also: U.S. Treasury Official to Discuss Sanctions and Hamas in Turkey)

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The Prelude to The Pause

This ceasefire follows a large-scale military campaign by Israel against the Gaza Strip, triggered by a cross-border attack by Hamas last month. The conflict has been devastating, with health authorities reporting the death of at least 14,854 Palestinians, including 6,150 children and over 4,000 women. The official Israeli death toll is reported at 1,200.

Hope Amidst Destruction

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While the ceasefire offers a glimmer of hope, the scale of the humanitarian needs in Gaza is staggering, with approximately 1.7 million people internally displaced and 2.2 million people requiring aid. The pause, a direct result of U.S. diplomacy with regional partners, will allow humanitarian organizations to deliver food, medicine, water, and other vital aid to civilians. It will also facilitate the evacuation of the sick, injured, and vulnerable individuals facing extremely dire conditions.

(Read Also: Israeli Drone Targeted: An Escalation Amidst a Temporary Truce)

The United States, as the largest donor to the UN’s humanitarian efforts in Gaza, has urged the international community to fulfill commitments towards the UN flash humanitarian appeal. The U.S. has delivered nearly half a million pounds of food assistance to the region for Gaza and continues to coordinate with the Governments of Israel and Egypt, the UN, and other international actors to move humanitarian assistance and personnel into Gaza.

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Humanitarian Workers: The Unsung Heroes

The conflict has taken a devastating toll on humanitarian workers, with more than 100 staff from the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) killed. This marks the highest number of deaths of UN workers in any conflict in history. The pause will be crucial to protect these humanitarians who risk their lives to deliver aid.

The four-day pause is a step in the right direction, but it is not enough to address the critical needs in Gaza. It remains to be seen whether this brief respite can bridge the gap between the enormity of the crisis and the resources at hand. The world watches with bated breath, hoping for a lasting peace that will end the suffering and displacement in Gaza.

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