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Hostages release: Live images from Rafah border where hostages will arrive

by DIGITAL TIMES
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In the unfolding narrative, correspondent Jod K is actively joining our live session, enriching us with additional details. Jody, what unfolds at your end during these pivotal moments? The hostages were slated for liberation around 4:00 p.m., and now, well past 4:45 local time, what developments have transpired regarding the release of Israeli hostages by Hamas?

Greetings, Muhammad. As you rightly pointed out, this entire process encountered delays. Shortly after 4:00 local time, which was the designated moment for the Israeli hostages’ release, the Prime Minister indicated that 12 Thai hostages, out of the 36 under Hamas custody in Gaza, have indeed gained their freedom. The Thai Embassy staff are en route to retrieve them. The latest update suggests that the 13 Israeli hostages, initially set for release at 4:00 (now nearing 5:00), are reportedly under the care of the Red Cross. Their journey entails crossing into Egypt via the Rafa Crossing and then proceeding to hospitals in southern Israel. Their medical conditions, unexplored during the 49 days in captivity, will take precedence. Medical staff, social services, and trauma experts will engage in assessing their well-being. The poignant moment of reuniting with their families holds a bittersweet note, especially for the younger hostages, unaware of the events and potential loss of relatives in the October 7th attack.

Certainly, a significant aspect of this agreement, Jody, centers around reports from Israeli media. It indicates that 13 Israeli hostages, now in Hamas’ custody, have transitioned to the Red Cross. On the flip side, 39 Palestinians, including women and children, were to be released. Can you shed light on the status of this aspect of the deal?

Indeed. Reports suggest that these 39 Palestinian prisoners, including women and those under 18, some convicted for involvement in terror attacks and attempted murder, have either been handed over to the Red Cross or remain in Israeli prisons in the West Bank. The subsequent step involves their transfer to the Red Cross, facilitating their journey to homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Considering this protracted conflict, negotiations spanning 49 days, the breakthrough at this juncture is noteworthy. Jody, what are the discussions within Israeli political circles regarding the four-day “seesar” and what unfolds after this period?

You raise a pertinent point. Over the next four days, the agreement entails the daily release of 12 or 13 Israeli hostages by Hamas, paralleled by Israel facilitating the early release of around 30 to 35 Palestinian prisoners each day, eventually totaling up to 150 prisoners. Noteworthy is the provision for an extra one-day pause for every 10 Israeli hostages released, with a corresponding release of approximately 30 Palestinian prisoners. The overarching aim remains to maximize the return of hostages while safeguarding against a recurrence of atrocities by Hamas, such as the October 7th attack claiming 1,200 lives and the abduction of 240 hostages into Gaza.

Absolutely. Given the delicate nature of this situation, we’ve witnessed protests, or as you prefer, vigils by family members of those captured by Hamas. They demand the prioritized return of every hostage. Yet, the Israeli government speaks of securing 50 hostages conditionally. What sentiments do the families express, and how does this align with the ongoing negotiations?

The term “protesting” might not accurately encapsulate the families’ sentiments. Instead, what we’ve observed is a more unifying stance, a vigil, where tens of thousands have expressed support for the hostage families. The focus is squarely on ensuring the release of hostages as a top priority for the Israeli government. While sentiments against Netanyahu and related aspects will likely surface in a commission of inquiry and potential elections, the prevailing unity aims to bring the hostages home and prevent a recurrence of Hamas-led massacres.

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