Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that the release of hostages taken by Hamas will not signal 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” hostages.
However, not everyone in Israel’s government is in favor of a potential agreement. The Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben Gvir, has warned that it could lead to a “disaster” for Israel and his party opposes it. Speculation about a possible agreement for hostage release arose after President Joe Biden said it was already “very close.” However, IDF spokesman emphasized that if such an agreement occurs, Israeli authorities would first inform Hamas captives’ families before making it public.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniye stated that a truce agreement with Israel is “close,” with Qatar seeing both parties as being in the “final phase” as mediator. It remains to be seen how this potential agreement may impact ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.