War in Israel: On the Razor's Edge the Truce - The Involvement That Brought Postponement

Israel has announced that there will be a postponement until Friday

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With eyes on Gaza, the international community is anxious to implement the deal reached after seven weeks of war, led to a four-day truce and appears to be putting the beginning of the end to the drama of the hostages being held by Hamas since its terror attack. October 7th.

A sudden standoff that, according to the WSJ, is due to Hamas not providing sufficient evidence and information about the hostages to be released, is leading to the postponement of the implementation of the truce that was supposed to begin at 10 a.m. today and, as it said Israeli source, will start but not before Friday.

The lack of trust is a given and it is indicative that M. Netanyahu announced yesterday that he had instructed the Mossad "to take action against the leadership of Hamas wherever it is"...

The first critical test will be at the Rafah crossing to Egypt, where the Red Cross will hand over to the Israelis the first group of 12 hostages, children and women, under the agreement which provides for the gradual release of four groups, one on each ceasefire day. 50 hostages in exchange for the release of nearly 150 Palestinian women and minors under the age of 18 held in Israeli prisons.

On Wednesday evening, Mossad chief David Barnea traveled for the second time in a few days to Qatar where he received the list of names of hostages to be released. Accordingly, Israel shared the list of Palestinian prisoners to be released. The procedure that will be followed is that the hostages handed over by the Red Cross will be identified and then taken to hospitals in Israel for examination and treatment of health problems, and then their family will be notified for a first contact.

The hostages will remain under surveillance and will work with specially trained intelligence teams to provide information about their conditions and places of detention. A painstaking but mandatory process as the Israelis will attempt to extract as much information as they can.

Shortly after the release of the Israeli hostages, the Palestinians from the list of 300 persons drawn up by the Israeli services will be released to Israel.

A large number of trucks with humanitarian aid and tanks of fuel will also be allowed to pass through Gaza, as well as the ban on flights of even Israeli drones so as not to reveal Hamas hideouts during the transport and delivery of the hostages.

The Agreement, which was made possible after intensive diplomacy that began the day after October 7 in the Washington-Doha-Cairo triangle (with the complete exclusion of Turkey), also provides for an extension of the truce for another five days, with the condition that each day of the truce, 10 hostages.

The implementation of the agreement is extremely fragile and vulnerable to external interventions that may also take the form of provocation in order to undermine the truce.

The timing of the agreement coincides with the completion of the first phase of the Israeli operation with the control of a large part of Northern Gaza and while at the military level preparations were underway to expand the operation to the South. It is there in Khan Younis, which is considered to be Hamas's big hideout, that its operational leadership is based and its large stockpiles of weapons are located. It is estimated that the hostages are also being held in the same area.

This operation from the first moment seemed extremely difficult for Israel. Thousands of Palestinians from Northern Gaza have taken refuge in Southern Gaza following the recommendations of the Israeli Army itself, surviving in miserable conditions. An attack on southern Gaza would cause new heavy civilian casualties at a time when the international community and even Israel's closest allies have reached the limit of their endurance in the face of images broadcast daily from Gaza. The rest of a few days was also necessary for the Israeli Army in order to clarify the landscape for the next moves.

The Israeli government approved the agreement with deep concern, as only a part of the hostages will be released and the fate of the rest remains in the hands of Hamas. And of course the extension of the truce by several days weakens the momentum that the Israeli forces had acquired with the operation in the territory of Gaza. At the same time, the conclusion of this agreement justifies the choice of Hamas to take hostages and then use them as a bargaining chip. In Israel, however, there is a fear that, during this time, not only will the pressure from the international factor to stop operations increase, but Hamas will be given the opportunity to regroup.

Hamas, which has suffered serious blows in terms of personnel as well as infrastructure and weaponry, had every reason to seek a truce and much more to hope that by blackmailing the fate of the remaining hostages and releasing them with the dropper, it will delay and possibly thwart the extension of Israel's offensive to the South. And so a prolonged truce will facilitate its effort to remain trapped but alive and strong in Gaza.

The Iranian Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian said yesterday that if the truce is not extended in time, "war will spread throughout the Middle East"...
It is clear that Hamas is not going to release all the hostages before securing its survival on the territory of Gaza.

M.Netanyahu himself, responding to the criticism he receives internally, stated that the agreement of the 4-day truce does not mean that the war stops. And he repeated that the goal is the extermination of Hamas...

So seven weeks after the start of the war and while there are thousands of civilian casualties and a Gaza with destroyed infrastructure and 45% of the houses leveled or unfit for use, the release of the hostages and the 96-hour ceasefire is a first positive message . But the dilemmas and challenges that existed since the beginning of the war still remain. On how Israel will ensure that Gaza is no longer a threat to its security, on how Hamas will be marginalized, on who will take over Gaza after a general ceasefire, on who will take over the reconstruction of and under what conditions.

Source: protothema.gr