TEL AVIV-YAFO, Israel — The Israeli government announced its cabinet’s decision Wednesday on an agreement to secure the release of around 50 hostages from the approximately 240 abducted into Gaza during Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack. This agreement, which includes a four-day ceasefire, also involves the release of Palestinian women and children from Israeli prisons, with the potential for more releases in later stages of the deal.
Key Elements Of The Agreement
Prisoners-for-hostages deal: The first stage involves Israel releasing 150 Palestinian prisoners once 50 hostages held by Hamas are back in Israel. This will take place over four phases, with a minimum of 10 hostages released in each phase.
Extended release conditions: The second stage allows for the release of up to an additional 150 Palestinian prisoners if up to 50 more hostages are returned.
Ceasefire terms: The deal includes a four-day pause in fighting during the first part. For every additional release of 10 hostages, there will be an additional 24-hour pause in hostilities. The United States and Israel have agreed to pause drone flights over Gaza for six hours each day as part of the deal.
Current status: Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk said the truce will commence at 10 a.m. Thursday. Israeli officials have yet to confirm this start time, indicating that final details are still being worked out.
U.S. President Joe Biden has welcomed the deal, expressing gratitude for the imminent reunification of hostages with their families.
“I am extraordinarily gratified that some of these brave souls, who have endured weeks of captivity and an unspeakable ordeal, will be reunited with their families once this deal is fully implemented,” said Biden.
The U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged the Israel-Hamas hostage deal as a significant advancement while firmly committing to continuing efforts until all hostages held by Hamas in Gaza are released.
“Today’s outcome is the result of tireless diplomacy and relentless effort across the United States government. While this deal marks significant progress, we will not rest as long as Hamas continues to hold hostages in Gaza,” said the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The United Nations also showed strong support for the deal, highlighting its significance in the ongoing conflict. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, through a spokesperson, said that while the agreement is a positive development, there is still considerable work to be done in the broader context of the situation.
“I welcome the agreement reached by Israel & Hamas. It‘s an important step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done,” said Guterres.
“The UN will mobilize all its capacities to support the implementation & maximize positive impact on the humanitarian situation in Gaza,” he added.
Market reactions: Investors have enthusiastically greeted the news of the hostage deal between Israel and Hamas, as evident in a notable rally of Israeli stocks.
On Wednesday, the Tel Aviv 125 index experienced a significant surge, climbing by 1.8%. This marks a continuation of its bullish trend, with gains recorded on six out of the last seven days. The index has now reached heights not seen since Oct. 5.
The iShares MSCI Israel ETF (NYSE:EIS), which monitors Israeli stocks and accounts for the shekel (ILS) performance, closed 0.3% higher on Tuesday. This uptick represents the ETF’s fourth consecutive day of gains.
Produced in association with Benzinga.
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