Fragile truce in Gaza holds as talks go on to extend Israel-Hamas cease-fire

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Israeli soldiers work on a tank in southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023, on the fifth day of a temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

DEIR AL-BALLAH, Gaza Strip – A fragile peace deal between Israel and Hamas entered a fifth day on Tuesday, with Israel pledging to release more hostages to delay an expected war under pressure from the United States. To better protect Palestinian civilians in Gaza if the attacks continue.

As mediators met in Qatar to try to extend a cease-fire agreement beyond Wednesday, Israel and Hamas committed serious violations in the first serious violation of the ceasefire, with an exchange of fire between troops and militants in northern Gaza.

But there was no sign that he would jeopardize the truce or the planned hostage exchanges in Gaza for Palestinians held in Israel.

Israel has vowed to continue the war. “Full Power” To destroy Hamas after it became clear that no more hostages would be released under the deal.

The Biden administration has told Israel to stay away. “Major Additional Displacement.” American officials have stated that if he continues the attack, there will be heavy casualties on Palestinian civilians and he should act more precisely in southern Gaza than he did in the north. The officials asked not to be identified under White House rules.

CIA Director William Burns and David Barnea, head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, were in Qatar, a key negotiator with Hamas, to discuss extending the ceasefire and releasing more hostages, according to a diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity. A U.S. official confirmed that Burns will be in Qatar, as the director’s travel plans have not been released for security reasons.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is due to visit the region this week, hoping to extend the truce.

About 160 of the 240 captured by Hamas and other militants in an October 7 attack in southern Israel that ignited the war remain hostages. Israel has expressed its willingness to extend the ceasefire by one day for 10 additional hostages to be released by Hamas in accordance with the agreement reached by Qatar, Egypt and the United States, but it is expected that Hamas will have a strong desire to release the group. Arrested soldiers.

Israel has vowed to end Hamas’ 16-year rule in Gaza and crush its military capabilities. That would, of course, require expanding the ground offensive from northern Gaza to the south, where Gaza’s population of 2.3 million is crammed. With Egypt refusing to accept refugees and Israel closing its borders, it is unclear where they will go if Israel expands its land movement.

Hostages and prisoners were released.

Monday’s release brings to 50 the number of Israelis released under the first four-day truce. An additional 19 hostages were released in separate negotiations, including 17 Thais, one Filipino and one Russian-Israeli.

So far, 150 Palestinians have been released from Israeli prisons.

Most of the Palestinian prisoners released so far are teenagers accused of throwing stones and throwing bombs during clashes with Israeli soldiers. Some have been convicted in Israeli courts of attempting to carry out deadly attacks. The prisoners are widely seen by Palestinians as heroes who resisted the occupation.

The freed hostages have largely stayed out of the public eye, but details of their captivity are beginning to emerge.

In one of her first interviews since her release, 78-year-old Ruthie Munder told Israel’s Channel 13 television that at first she had good food in captivity, but conditions worsened as the shortages worsened. She said she would sit in one “suffocating” room and slept on plastic chairs with sheets for about 50 days.

Israel imposed a siege on Gaza at the start of the war and allowed only a patchy supply of food, water, medicine and fuel before the ceasefire, leading to widespread shortages and state-wide power outages.

Tuesday’s exchange of fire between Israeli troops and Hamas fighters in northern Gaza underscored the fragility of the truce, with the warring sides closing in on each other. Although each side blamed the other for the outbreak, there were no further reports.

Northern Gaza in ruins

The cease-fire allowed the remaining residents of Gaza City and other northern areas to survey the destruction and try to locate and bury their relatives.

In northern Gaza, the Jabalia refugee camp has been under heavy Israeli bombardment for weeks and soldiers have been encircled by heavy fighting with militants. “When buildings fall down, you’ll find only concrete pancakes in the city.” said Thomas White, Gaza director of the United Nations, which cares for Palestinian refugees.

The agency delivered six trucks to the camp, including supplies for the medical center. White’s tour pictures streets littered with destroyed buildings, cars, and rubble.

A UN-led aid coalition says more than 234,000 homes have been damaged and 46,000 have been completely destroyed across Gaza, around 60% of the territory’s housing stock. In the north, disaster “It severely impairs the ability to meet the basic requirements to sustain life.” he said.

More than 13,300 Palestinians have been killed since the war began, roughly two-thirds of them women and children, according to the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants. More than 1,200 people were killed on the Israeli side, most of them civilians in the first attack.

At least 77 soldiers were killed in the attack on Israeli soil. Israel claims to have killed thousands of militants without providing evidence.

Authorities were able to reopen the dialysis department at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City after medical teams brought a small generator. Dr Mutasim Salah from the hospital told Al Jazeera TV that about 20 patients had been without dialysis for two or three weeks.

Two weeks ago, Israeli forces seized the hospital, which Israel claims is being used by Hamas as a large base, an allegation the group and hospital staff dispute.

Fear of the South

Israeli bombardment and ground attacks have displaced more than 1.8 million people, nearly 80% of Gaza’s population, most of whom have sought refuge in the south, according to the United Nations, where hundreds of thousands of people are crammed into UN-run schools and other facilities. Many were forced to sleep on the streets due to overcrowding.

Although, the rain and cold wind that is pouring down on Gaza made the conditions even more miserable.

On Tuesday, Hanan Taye returned to her ruined home in the central city of Johor Al-Dik, searching for any belongings in the rubble.

“I have come to get anything for my daughters. Winter has come, and I have nothing for them to wear.” She said. “It’s cold, we’re homeless.”

The cease-fire aid has allowed 160 to 200 trucks a day to flow into Gaza, bringing much-needed food, water and medicine, as well as fuel for homes, hospitals and water treatment plants. Still, Gaza imports less than half of what it did before the war, despite rising humanitarian needs.

Juliette Thoma, a spokeswoman for the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency, said people were coming to the shelters asking for heavy clothing, mattresses and blankets, and some were sleeping in broken-down vehicles.

“The needs are too great.” she told The Associated Press. “They have lost everything and want everything.”

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