Israel-Hamas truce deal extended one more day after marathon mediation efforts

Ahram Online , Thursday 30 Nov 2023

After intensive and marathon talks with mediators in Doha all day and deep into the night on Wednesday, Israel and Hamas announced the extension of the six-day-old truce in the war in Gaza for one more day.

A man smiles as he is welcomed after being released from prison by Israel, in the West Bank town of Ramallah, early Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023. AP


20:00 International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan visited Israel "at the request and invitation" of the survivors and families of the victims of Hamas's October 7 attacks, the ICC said on Thursday.

"The visit, while not investigative in nature, represents an important opportunity to express sympathy for all victims and engage in dialogue," the court wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Khan is also due to travel to Ramallah in the occupied West Bank where he will meet with senior Palestinian officials, the ICC said.

Opening its doors in 2002, the ICC is the world's only independent court set up to probe the gravest offences, including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

It opened an investigation into Israel as well as Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups for possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories in 2021.

Khan has previously said this investigation now "extends to the escalation of hostilities and violence since the attacks that took place on October, 2023".

But ICC teams have not been able to enter Gaza or investigate in Israel, which is not an ICC member.

Legal experts have told AFP that Hamas and Israel could face war crimes charges over the conflict.

Five countries in mid-November called for an ICC investigation into the Israel-Hamas war, with Khan saying his team had collected a "significant volume" of evidence on "relevant incidents".

19:00 Israeli President Isaac Herzog met his Emirati counterpart on the sidelines of UN climate talks on Thursday as part of a diplomatic push to release hostages held by Hamas.

Herzog's visit to the United Arab Emirates comes nearly eight weeks into the Israeli war on Gaza and coincides with a day-long extension to a truce that has seen Israeli captives freed in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners.

During his meeting with UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Herzog underlined "the necessity to act in any way possible to free the Israeli hostages held captive by the murderous terrorist organisation Hamas," a statement from his office said.

He "appealed" to his Emirati counterpart "to employ his full political weight to promote and speed up the return home of the hostages," the statement said.

In a separate statement on X, formerly Twitter, Herzog said he would hold "a series of diplomatic meetings" in Dubai to push for the release of captives.

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas is also attending the COP28 climate conference.

More than 140 heads of state and government are due to address COP28 on Friday and Saturday, including Herzog and Abbas, who are both scheduled to make speeches lasting three minutes on Friday.

"In my meetings with world leaders, I intend to raise the firm demand for the immediate and unconditional release of all the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza," Herzog said.

"In addition, I will detail and emphasise efforts to provide more and more humanitarian aid to the civilians of Gaza," he added.

Since the truce began on November 24, 70 Israeli captives have been freed in return for 210 Palestinian prisoners.

Around 30 foreigners, most of them Thais living in Israel, have been freed outside the terms of the deal.

Israel has made clear it sees the truce as a temporary halt intended to free hostages, but there are growing calls for a more sustained pause in the war.

15:30 Hamas claimed responsibility for a shooting attack in Jerusalem that killed three people on Thursday.

In a statement issued hours later, Hamas called the attack "a natural response to the unprecedented crimes of the occupier in the Gaza Strip and against children in Jenin", in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Hamas identified the attackers as brothers Murad Nemr, 38, and Ibrahim Nemr, 30, saying they were members of its armed wing based in east Jerusalem.

Police said the attackers had been jailed by Israel in the past.

15:00 Egypt and Qatar are working to extend the humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza for two more days after managing to extend it for one day, Diaa Rashwan, head of Egypt’s State Information Service, told the media.

An agreement was reached to release 10 Israeli captives in Gaza and 30 Palestinian detainees from Israeli prisons later Thursday, he added. Humanitarian aid continues to flow to the northern and southern parts of the Gaza Strip in the same quantities agreed upon during the previous six days of the ceasefire.

Intensive Egypt-Qatar efforts have succeeded in eliminating several obstacles that hindered the implementation of the ceasefire agreement today, he noted.

Rashwan affirmed that Egypt is closely monitoring the implementation of the humanitarian ceasefire on Thursday, adding that it has urged both parties to adhere to the agreed terms.

Egypt will continue to exert its utmost to ensure the flow of humanitarian aid to the northern and southern parts of Gaza, he said.

14:00 A Hamas source told AFP that 10 Israeli hostages would be released from the Gaza Strip on Thursday, two of them also holding Russian citizenship, as part of a one-day truce extension.

"All of them are alive," the source said. "Israel last night refused a list Hamas proposed that included three Israeli bodies."

"The negotiations were very difficult and lasted all night, right up to a few minutes before 7:00 am this morning (0500 GMT)," the source said.

The truce, which was to expire at that time, has since Friday paused fighting in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Hamas and seen Israeli hostages released in exchange for three times as many Palestinian prisoners.

"At their conclusion, it was decided to extend the truce in the Gaza Strip by one day," the source said.

13:00 Israel and the US are mulling the potential expulsion of numerous lower-ranking members of the Palestinian group Hamas after the end of the ongoing war, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.

The goal is to eliminate Hamas from the Gaza Strip, drawing parallels to the past deportation of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) members, including leader Yasser Arafat, from Lebanon to Tunisia.

According to the WSJ, there is no detailed plan for executing this expulsion. The report suggests that the idea may face challenges, with an analyst deeming it "unrealistic." Additionally, it has acknowledged that Hamas members would likely resist such expulsion.

The report, citing unnamed senior Israeli and US officials, mentions an alternative proposal put forward by the Israeli army – the creation of a "Gaza Restoration Authority." This entity would be supported by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, tasked with rebuilding Gaza without the presence of Hamas.

However, significant obstacles to this plan include disagreements between Israel and the US on whether the Palestinian Authority (PA) would be involved in the solution, as Israel insists that the PA cannot have a governing role in the Gaza Strip.

Moreover, the endorsement of this solution by Riyadh and Abu Dhabi is deemed necessary for its success.

11:30 Despite its prohibition in the truce terms, Palestinian journalists document the flight of an Israeli warplane morning in the southern skies of the Gaza Strip, according to Al-Jazeera.

On Wednesday, Israel and Hamas declared the extension of the six-day-old ceasefire in the Gaza conflict for an additional day following marathon talks with mediators in Doha.



11:00 US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during a visit to Israel that the truce between Israel and Hamas was "producing results" and should continue.

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