Photo by Eitan Elhadez-Barak/TPS on 16 December, 2023

Israel Signals Readiness for Another Hostage Exchange

Public By TPS • 20 December, 2023

Jerusalem, 20 December, 2023 (TPS) -- Israeli leaders have signaled their willingness to negotiate another hostage exchange as reports swirl of another possible temporary ceasefire.

Hamas still holds 129 hostages. One hundred ten were already released, most in an earlier deal that Hamas violated on Nov. 28.

On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the families of abductees, “We are committed, and I am personally committed, to the release of all of the hostages. Rescuing them is the highest mission.

“Just now I twice sent the director of the Mossad to Europe to advance a process for the release of our hostages. I will spare no effort on the matter and the demand is to bring them all,” he said.

Also on Tuesday, while briefing ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps from 80 countries, President Isaac Herzog said, “Israel is ready for another humanitarian pause and additional humanitarian aid in order to enable the release of hostages.”

Speaking of Israel’s efforts to allow humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip, Herzog noted, “First and foremost, we must remember that there are dozens of humanitarian cases within the group of hostages—such as babies, the elderly, sick, wounded, and, of course, many women.”

Israel has reportedly proposed to Qatari mediators a week-long pause in fighting in exchange for 40 hostages.

At least 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on Oct. 7. The number of men, women, children, soldiers and foreigners held captive in Gaza by Hamas is now believed to be 129. Other people remain unaccounted for as Israeli authorities continue to identify bodies and search for human remains.