Truce between Israel & Hamas extended by two days - Day 4 of the ceasefire as it happened

Ahram Online , Monday 27 Nov 2023

The new deal will involve the release of 10 captives held in Gaza in exchange for 30 Palestinians from Israeli prisons each day, according to Diaa Rashwan, Head of Egypt's State Information Service. The two-day extension will also allow more medical, food, and fuel aid into the strip, alongside a ceasefire and ban on Israeli flights over the Gaza Strip.

People gesture from a Red Cross bus carrying Palestinian children released from Israeli jails in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, in exchange for detainees released by Hamas from the Gaza Strip, on November, 2023. AFP


21:20 Israel’s Minister of Defence Yoav Gallant told his troops that when they return to fighting after the truce ends, its “strength will be greater, and [the fighting] will include all parts of the Gaza Strip.”

“You now have a few days, then we will return to fighting, we will use the same amount of power and more,” Gallant added.

21:00 The Red Cross received over 11 Israelis from Gaza as part of the fourth batch of captive swap, Egyptian media outlets reported.

Reports of a disagreement between the Palestinian and Israeli sides preceded the handing over of the fourth batch of captives.

Diaa Rashwan, Head of Egypt's State Information Service, said the differences were overcome via Egyptian-Qatari mediation.

He noted that 33 Palestinians will be released from Israeli jails in exchange.


Video of the fourth batch of captive swap

17:30 A humanitarian truce between Israel and Hamas will extend by two days, mediator Qatar said as an initial four-day truce in Gaza was set to expire.

"The State of Qatar announces that, as part of the ongoing mediation, an agreement has been reached to extend the humanitarian truce for an additional two days in the Gaza Strip," Qatari foreign ministry spokesman Majed Al Ansari said on X, formerly Twitter.

The Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas also announced that it has been agreed with Qatar and Egypt to extend the temporary humanitarian truce for an additional two days under the same conditions as the previous truce.



16:00 Nufuz Hammad, 16, the youngest Palestinian inmate in Israeli prison, may not be released as Israelis have returned her to prison following an initial decision to release her as part of the captive swap deal with Hamas.

Her father, Jad Hammad, from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, stated that Israel had returned his daughter to prison after almost releasing her last Saturday.

Nufuz was listed among the 300 children and female prisoners to be released, according to the Israeli Ministry of Justice last week.

Jad told the Palestinian WAFA news agency that when he went to Moscovia prison on Saturday, his daughter was not among the prisoners released.

“The released prisoners told me that Nufuz was with them until 8pm, and after that, she was taken to an unknown place."

"They led the prisoners' families and each one received their daughter or son, except for me. I did not receive my daughter, and they told me, 'Go, go'!"

Afterward, he learned that Israeli guards assaulted Nufuz during the transfer and took her to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, before returning her to prison on Monday.

He is concerned about her health, Jad told WAFA.

15:45 Hamas issued a statement condemning the initial report issued by Human Rights Watch (HRW) regarding the attacks on hospitals in the Gaza Strip, especially the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital.

The human rights organization released a report late on Sunday in which it held the resistance factions responsible for the aerial bombardment of Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital.

Hamas says that the organization provided no clear material evidence for its conclusion, even though investigations by many international bodies have confirmed the Israeli occupation’s responsibility for the targeting that affected not only Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital but all the hospitals in the Gaza Strip. 

"What further undermines the credibility of this report is that the writers of the report could not have had access to the scene of the event, collected evidence, met witnesses, or listened to the reports of the competent authorities," Hamas statement added.

The Palestinian faction called on the organization to review the report and wait for the end of the aggression, stressing that Human Rights Watch is welcome to visit Gaza to investigate the incident directly. 

15:24 Negotiations on which captives might be freed next continue, the Israeli prime minister's office has said.

In a brief statement, it said: "The negotiations regarding the list of the next freed people as part of the release plan continues."

The Israeli government spokesperson Eylon Levy said: "Hamas is on notice, that option for an extension is open," adding that Israel wants to receive another 50 captives.

"As soon as that framework expires, Israel will continue with full force," he said.

15:17 Jordan foreign minister Ayman al-Safadi accused Israel of committing genocide in Gaza

“What is happening in Gaza is within the realm of the legal definition of genocide,” he told reporters after a meeting of Mediterranean countries in Spain.

He said the world had to acknowledge that Hamas’s operation on 7 October should be seen in the context of how Israel is treating the Palestinian people. 

Israel, he said, “has systematically worked to undermine the prospects for peace, to deny the Palestinian people … their culture, their history, their rights to exist.”

That is “terrorism too,” he added.

Safadi also noted that “Israel has been acting as if it’s above the law. And this has to stop.” 

“International law was made so that everybody abides by it. It was made so all countries adhere to it. It was not made so that some countries are allowed to break it is breaking international law," he continued.

14:50 The White House says Israel agreed to extend the truce to release more detainees, Al Arabiya reports.

Ceasefire negotiators are close to agreeing to an extension, three Egyptian security sources have told Reuters.

Egyptian, Qatari, and US officials were still discussing the length of the extension and which prisoners would be freed under it, they said.

Hamas was seeking a four-day extension while Israel wanted day-by-day extensions, said the sources.

Israel has previously said it would add a day to the truce for every additional 10 detainees freed.

14:42 Spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) Kazem Abu Khalaf confirmed on Monday that the Israeli authorities do not yet allow fuel to enter the northern Gaza Strip, even though it has allowed dozens of aid trucks to enter areas in the northern area during the Humanitarian truce.

“Trucks are carefully inspected by the Israeli army in the Gaza Valley, which separates the northern part from the strip south, and until now fuel has not been allowed to enter the northern Gaza Strip,” Abu Khalaf told the Arab World News Agency (AWP).

"Fuel and cooking gas are distributed to hospitals in the south, and to 15 water desalination plants, 79 water wells and we have 18 stations to deal with sewage and bakeries," He added.

"We need more trucks in, we need more aid in. We are looking at possibly being on the brink of famine" in Gaza, the WFP Chief said in an interview CBS News.

14:20 The Israeli army arrested 60 more Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Prisoners Club said on Monday, bringing the total number of Palestinians detained since 7 October to 3,260.

The arrests were mostly concentrated in the towns of Hebron and Ramallah, it said.

"During the arrest campaigns, the occupation forces continue to carry out widespread acts of abuse, severe beatings, field investigations, and threats against detainees and their families," the association said in a statement.

The Palestinian Prisoners' Club also reported that seven Palestinian women remain detained in Israeli prisons. Here is a summary of their details:

Child prisoner Nufuz Hammad: From Jerusalem, she was arrested in 2021 and recently sentenced to 12 years in captivity.

Shatila Abu Eyadah: From the occupied territories of 1948, she was arrested in 2016 and is serving a 16-year sentence.

Nawal Fitiha: A resident of Jerusalem, she was arrested in 2020 and sentenced to 8 years in prison.

Attaf Giradat: Arrested in 2021 from Jenin and detained without trial.

Yasmin Shaaban: Also from Jenin, she was arrested in 2022 and received a 6-year prison sentence.

Aya Al-Khatib: Originating from the occupied territories of 1948, she was re-arrested by the occupation in September 2023, following nearly two years of imprisonment, which was later replaced with house arrest. The occupation sentenced her to four years in prison.

Asmaa Abu Takfa: From the occupied territories of 1948, she was arrested in April 2023.

Israel's prison service said 39 Palestinian detainees were released on November 26, 2023 under the terms of a truce agreement between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The announcement came after 13 Israeli hostages were freed in the Palestinian territory under the deal, along with three Thais and a Russian-Israeli dual citizen.

The Palestinians freed from Israeli detention are prevented from celebrating. According to the Palestinian Prisoners' Club, prisoners who violate these terms of their release and publicly celebrate are subject to a fine of 70,000 shekels ($18,700).

In occupied Jerusalem, the police prevented a gathering of family members and neighbors.

Police were seen ordering the Al Jazeera correspondent to step back and not to film the gathering, as Israel seeks to block public celebrations of the prisoner releases.

Israeli media reported that the police and the army have been surrounding the homes of some of the other Palestinian prisoners slated to be released today in order to avoid a “victory picture” on the Palestinian side.

14:00 The Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minister Riad al-Malki said the pause in fighting in Gaza must be extended to avoid more deaths in the Strip.

“The truce went into effect with 15,000 deaths. If we see the war resume, then the number of deaths will double because the concentration of the population is now twicefold,” al-Malki said.

“We have worked so that this truce continues … so that Israel does not continue attacking,” he added, in Barcelona, at the start of a meeting of the intergovernmental organization Union for the Mediterranean gathering Arab and EU countries.

From his side, the EU's top foreign policy official Josep Borrell called ​for Israel not to "recolonize" Gaza, saying both Palestinians and Israelis had an "equal and legitimate right to the same land," Reuters reports.

He added that a Palestinian state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza was the "best guarantee" for "Israel's security and peace."

13:30 NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday called for a halt in the fighting in Gaza to be prolonged to allow for more aid and the release of captives.

"I call for an extension of the pause. This would allow for much-needed relief to the people of Gaza and the release of more captives," Stoltenberg told journalists.

12:05 Hamas said that the release of the Israeli military captives held in Gaza is linked to the release of all Palestinian prisoners and the ending of the siege on the Strip.

The Palestinian group also said that it would make an effort to extend the truce according to the available number of civilian detainees, according to Al Arabiya.

11:42 European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has slammed the Israeli government's decision to provide funds for new more illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

“This has nothing to do with self-defense and will not make Israel safer. The settlements are a serious violation of international humanitarian law and are Israel’s biggest security responsibility,” Borrell said.

All Israeli settlements, hosting nearly 700,000 settlers, are considered illegal by the international communities.

11:20 Delegations from Arab countries and the European Union member states are meeting Monday in Barcelona, Spain, to discuss the Israeli war on Gaza during the Union for the Mediterranean meeting.

The meeting, boycotted by Israel, hopes to “bridge a gap” between Arab and European countries in calling for a humanitarian pause in Gaza to become a permanent cease-fire, said Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, chair of the meeting alongside the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

Safadi said that the work for a two-state solution must begin with "ensuring an end to this brutal aggression."

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said the time had come for the international community and the EU to once and for all recognize a Palestinian state during a trip along with his Belgian counterpart to Egypt, the Palestinian territories, and Israel last week. That prompted Israel to recall its ambassadors to Spain and Belgium.

During his participation in the forum, Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry said that European countries need to play a leading role in recognizing a Palestinian state.

Shoukry further stressed that displacement of the Palestinians is utterly rejected internationally; yet Israeli measures continue to push for it, noting that countries opposing this deportation are not undertaking the needful measures to prevent it.

He also emphasized the significant obstruction by Israel, resulting in a limited flow of aid into Gaza.

As a response, Arab and Muslim nations have proposed a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council which aimed at addressing this critical issue, he said.

Borrell from his side emphasized that "Hamas is not just a group of individuals, but rather an idea and ideology that cannot be killed."

He called for an extension of the truce in the Gaza Strip, which is due to end on Tuesday.

"The pause should be extended to make it sustainable and long-lasting while working for a political solution," the EU top diplomat said.

"We will face unprecedented waves of extremism and violence if the war in Gaza is not stopped," he further added.

10:28 Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk was in Tel Aviv on Monday and Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi said that Starlink satellite units will only be able to operate in the Gaza Strip, following an agreement of a "principle understanding" with Musk.

Starlink is a satellite internet venture operated by SpaceX, owned by Musk, that makes it easier to provide internet services in rural and isolated regions of the world where the internet terminals and cables are not strong.

As part of its war on Gaza, Israel had destroyed communication towers and cut off all internet for the besieged strip last month and Musk declared that he would connect the UN and aid organizations to Starlink, his satellite internet service, sparking the anger of Israel. 

The billionaire insisted: "We will take extraordinary measures to ensure the terminal is used only for humanitarian purposes."

Israeli President Isaac Herzog's office announced on Sunday that Musk would be coming to meet the head of state. According to Israeli media, he will also meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

10:13 China's top diplomat Wang Yi will visit New York this week to hold a United Nations Security Council meeting on the Israel war on Gaza, Beijing's foreign ministry said on Monday.

"As it holds the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council this month, China will hold a high-level meeting on the Palestinian-Israeli issue on November 29," spokesman Wang Wenbin said.

China said last week it welcomed a truce in Gaza, which began Friday and led to more than 100 Palestinian prisoners freed and the release of dozens of people held in captivity in Gaza. 

Beijing hoped this week's UN talks would achieve "a ceasefire and an end to the fighting" and make "contributions to alleviating the humanitarian crisis in Gaza", Wang Wenbin said.

10:00 The pause that began Friday has seen over 100 Palestinian women and children freed from Israeli jails in return for dozens of people held captive in Gaza.

Attention now has turned to whether the truce will be extended before its scheduled end early on Tuesday morning.

"That is my goal, that is our goal, to keep this pause going beyond tomorrow so that we can continue to see more hostages come out and surge more humanitarian relief into those in need in Gaza," US President Joe Biden said Sunday.

He said he would like the fighting to be paused for "as long as prisoners keep coming out."

"I get a sense that all the players in the region are looking for a way to end this so the hostages are all released."

Hamas has signaled its willingness to extend the truce, with a source telling AFP the group told mediators they were open to prolonging it by "two to four days."

In a statement on Sunday night, Hamas said that it "seeks to extend the 4-day period, through serious efforts to increase the number of those released from imprisonment as stipulated in the humanitarian ceasefire agreement."

"The resistance believes it is possible to ensure the release of 20 to 40 Israeli prisoners" in that time, the source close to the movement said.

Under the truce, 50 prisoners held by Hamas were to be freed over four days in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners. A built-in mechanism extends it if at least 10 Israeli captives are released per day.

The final group of detainees to be freed under the initial deal is expected to emerge from Gaza later today.

Around 8,000 Palestinians remain in Israeli jails, as Israel persists in arresting Palestinians, mainly in the occupied West Bank, despite the truce. 

More than 60 Palestinians were arrested by Israeli forces overnight in the occupied West Bank, bringing to about 3,000 the number of Palestinians detained by Israeli forces there since 7 October.

In Gaza, some 180 Israelis remain in captivity.

The UNRWA has also expressed hope for the truce to continue and for aid and fuel to continue to come in.


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