Israel-Hamas war: Truce in Gaza fighting comes into force

Friday, 24 November 2023 (10:47 IST)
The temporary truce between Israel and the militant group Hamas is set to start at 7 a.m. (05:00 GMT) on Friday, said Qatar, the deal's key mediator.
Israel's wartime Cabinet approved on Wednesday a four-day cease-fire with Hamas militants in which militants were to release some 50 hostages held in Gaza.
Majed al-Ansari, a spokesman for Qatar's Foreign Ministry, said the first batch of 13 hostages was to be released at 4 p.m. He added a list of civilians to be released by Hamas has been received. 
"Obviously, every day will include a number of civilians as agreed to total 50 within the four days," he added.
Qatar, which has been leading mediation efforts between Israel and Hamas, expects Palestinians to be released from Israeli jails as part of the deal.
The deal would also allow for aid to enter the Gaza Strip which is under a blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt, as hundreds of thousands remain displaced and in dire humanitarian conditions since the conflict broke out on October 7.
Qatar said aid would be "going in as soon as possible."
Israel to resume offensive against Hamas after pause in fighting
Israeli military spokesman, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, said achieving control over the northern half of the Gaza Strip was only the "first step of a long war." 
"We are preparing for the next stages, we are looking forward in the coming days we will focus on planning and fulfilling the next stages of the war," he said at a daily media briefing. 
His statement comes after Qatari mediators announced a four-day cease-fire in Gaza between Israel and Hamas will begin at 7 a.m. local time on Friday.
Hagari's statement is in line with statements by the Israeli government that the truce won't end the war. 
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said fighting would continue for at least two more months, The Times of Israel reported.  
The online newspaper quoted Gallant as telling troops they should "organize, get ready, investigate, resupply arms, and get ready to continue.” 
“There will be a continuation because we need to complete the victory and create the impetus for the next groups of hostages, who will only come back as a result of pressure,” he said. 
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said fighting would continue "until we achieve all our goals." 
It includes destroying Hamas' military capabilities, ending its 16-year rule in Gaza and return of all the captives held in Gaza by Hamas and other groups. 
Hamas previously said it considered the cease-fire as temporary and its "fingers remain on the trigger." 
Israel, Germany and the United States among other nations designated Hamas as a terror organization. 
Germany's Baerbock stresses Israel's right to self-defense
At the Green Party’s annual conference on Thursday, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock emphasized Israel's right to self-defense.
Israel has the right and the duty under international humanitarian law to defend its citizens, Baerbock said, adding that Israel will never be able to live in security "if this terror is not combated."
Baerbock stressed that Israel was fighting against Hamas, the militant-Islamist outfit, and not against the Palestinians.
"Even before the current war, life in Gaza was characterized by poverty and a lack of prospects," Baerbock said, blaming Hamas for their “inhumane rule” of the territory.
The German minister advocated the revival of a two-state solution.
"We reject the ongoing Israeli settlement construction, plans for annexation in violation of international law and settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank as obstacles to peace. International humanitarian law must be respected everywhere," she said.
The violence of Jewish settlers in the West Bank was not in Israel's security interests, Baerbock said. She also warned of wider consequences of the conflict. "I believe it is our task to prevent precisely that - a regional conflagration and deepening international rifts."
Cuban president leads pro-Palestinian march in Havana
Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel led a huge protest march Thursday in support of Palestinians as Israel wages war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Protesters waving Palestinian flags criticized the United States for its support of Israel.
Diaz-Canel walked at the head of the procession along with his wife, Lis Cuesta, and senior government officials.
It was the biggest of several such pro-Palestinian rallies held in Cuba since the war started.
Communist-run Cuba has been a strong backer of the Palestinian cause for decades.
It does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

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