Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that the release of hostages taken by Hamas will not mark the end of the Israeli military campaign against Palestinian militia structures in the Gaza Strip. According to Netanyahu, the war has stages and the recovery of the prisoners will be carried out in stages.
Netanyahu also confirmed that the agreement, still pending official status, will consist of the release of hostages “in stages,” and that prisoners who do not return to their homes in the first deliveries will be visited by Red Cross personnel. The Israeli Minister of Defense, Yoav Gallant, echoed Netanyahu’s statement and stressed that the Army will continue fighting “with all its forces once the phase of the prisoner exchange agreement is completed.” This agreement is seen as the first step toward the return of “all” the hostages.
However, not everyone in Israel’s government is in favor of a potential agreement. Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir has warned that it could lead to a “disaster” for his country and his party opposes it. President Joe Biden had previously stated that such an agreement was “very, very close,” but an IDF spokesperson emphasized that if it does happen, Israel would first inform Hamas captives’ families before making any announcement public.
Hamas political leader Ismail Haniye has said a truce agreement with Israel is “close,” with Qatar serving as a mediator. However, it remains uncertain how this potential agreement may impact ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas as details continue to unfold.