Israeli Cabinet approves cease-fire with Hamas that includes release of some 50 hostages
Are Benjamin Netanyahu's days numbered as a politician?

The first substantial halt to six weeks of fighting is expected to mean the release of 'at least' 50 of the roughly 240 hostages Hamas and other militants are holding

Israel’s Cabinet on Wednesday approved a temporary cease-fire with the Hamas militant group that is expected to bring the first halt in fighting in a devastating six-week war and win freedom for dozens of hostages held captive in the Gaza Strip.

The deal calls for a four-day cease-fire, during which Israel will halt its military offensive in Gaza while Hamas frees “at least” 50 of the roughly 240 hostages it and other militants are holding, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said. The first hostages to be released are women and children.

“The government of Israel is committed to bringing all of the hostages home. Tonight, the government approved the outline for the first stage of achieving this goal,” the office said in a statement.

Media reports ahead of the vote said Israel would free some 150 Palestinian prisoners as part of the deal, but the Israeli statement made no mention of a prisoner release. It was not clear when the truce, brokered by the United State and Qatar, would go into effect.

Ahead of the early morning vote, Netanyahu said the war against Hamas would resume after the truce expires.

A longer-term lull could lead to pressure, both international and domestic, for Israel to end its war without achieving its goal of destroying Hamas’ military capabilities.

The war erupted on Oct. 7 when several thousand Hamas militants burst across the border into Israel, killing at least 1,200 people and taking hundreds hostage. Most of the dead were civilians, while the hostages include small children, women and older people.

Israel responded with weeks of blistering airstrikes on Gaza, followed by a ground invasion that began over three weeks ago.

More than 11,000 Palestinians have been killed during the Israeli offensive, according to the Health Ministry in the Hamas-run territory. It does not differentiate between civilians and militants, though Israel says thousands of Hamas militants have been killed.

“We are at war, and we will continue the war,” he said. “We will continue until we achieve all our goals.”

Despite his tough words, the government statement said the truce would be extended an extra day for every additional 10 hostages released by Hamas.

The invasion has caused vast destruction in northern Gaza, including the metropolis of Gaza City, displaced an estimated 1.7 million people and caused a humanitarian crisis with shortages of food, medicines, fuel and other key supplies throughout the territory.

Israel has rejected growing international criticism and vowed to press ahead until it destroys Hamas’ military and governing capabilities and all hostages are freed. Hamas, an Islamic militant group sworn to Israel’s destruction, has ruled Gaza since ousting the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority in 2007.

Under Wednesday’s deal, Hamas is to release roughly 12 hostages each day. In addition to the possible release of Palestinian prisoners, Israel is expected to allow additional quantities of humanitarian supplies and fuel into Gaza, Israeli media reported ahead of the vote. Wednesday’s government statement did not mention aid shipments.

While the statement did not say when the truce would begin, Israeli media reports said the hostages could begin to be released as soon as Thursday.

The return of any of hostages could lift spirits in Israel, where the plight of the captives has gripped the country’s attention. Airwaves are filled with interviews with families of the hostages, who include babies and toddlers, women and children and people in their 80s with health issues.

The families have become a powerful force in Israel – staging mass demonstrations and marches pressuring the government to bring home their loved ones. They have made a central Tel Aviv square their headquarters, where evocative displays like a long white table with seats for all 240 hostages are meant to keep their plight in the public eye.

But the structure of the deal could weaken Israel from various directions.

Any lull would give Hamas and its shadowy leader, Yehya Sinwar, a chance to regroup after suffering heavy losses during the fighting, especially if Hamas drags things out with additional hostage releases.

A cease-fire could also add to the already growing international pressure on Israel to halt its offensive as the full extent of damage in Gaza becomes apparent. Even the U.S., Israel’s chief backer, has expressed concerns about the heavy toll on Gaza’s civilian population.

Some three-quarters of Gaza’s population has been uprooted from their homes and are staying in filthy, overcrowded shelters.

Many, if not most, will be unable to return home because of the vast damage in the north and the continued presence of Israeli troops there. That could lead to an even worse humanitarian disaster as people remain in shelters or are forced to live in tents through the cold, rainy winter.

And in Israel, the staggered releases of hostages risks triggering divisions between families of those who are freed and those who remain in captivity. Families of the longest-held soldiers, who include young women who served as spotters along the border, are likely to press the government not to resume the offensive until their loved ones return home as well.

“There are many families and many opinions,” Hadas Kalderon, whose two young children were abducted with their father, told Israel’s Channel 12 TV.

She said a deal could create openings for future agreements by building trust, but acknowledged there are dilemmas as hostages are selected for release. “Our responsibility is to return everyone,” she said. “But let’s be realistic.”

A lengthy truce could also affect Israel’s battle readiness. While the troops are expected to remain in place and the Israeli military said its battle plans remain intact, it will be difficult and risky for the army to leave its forces stationary and in place behind enemy lines.

Asked about a potential cease-fire, the army’s chief spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said: “The army will know how to maintain its operational achievements.”

While Hamas will likely declare victory, Sinwar will have little to celebrate. Even if he survives and Hamas somehow maintains power, he will emerge to vast destruction that will take years, if not decades, to repair.

In the meantime, fighting continued on Tuesday, with the front line of the war shifting to the Jabaliya refugee camp, a dense warren of concrete buildings near Gaza City that houses families displaced in the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation.

Israel has bombarded the area for weeks, and the military said Hamas fighters have regrouped there and in other eastern districts after being pushed out of much of Gaza City.

In southern Lebanon, an Israeli strike killed two journalists with Al-Mayadeen TV, according to the Hezbollah-allied Pan-Arab network and Lebanese officials. There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military. A separate Israeli drone strike in Lebanon killed four Hamas members, a Palestinian official and a Lebanon security official said.

The Israeli military has been trading fire almost daily across the border with Lebanon’s Hezbollah group and Palestinian militants since the outbreak of the war.

On Tuesday, the Health Ministry said that as of Nov. 11 it had lost the ability to count the dead because of the collapse of large parts of the health system.

It believes the actual death toll has risen sharply above the official number of 11,000. Some 2,700 people are missing and believed to be buried under rubble, and hospitals have continued to report deaths from daily strikes, often dozens at a time.

The Israeli military says 68 soldiers have been killed in the ground offensive.


Republished with permission from The Associated Press.

Associated Press


  • My Take

    November 21, 2023 at 10:28 pm

    A cage match between savages.

  • My Take

    November 21, 2023 at 10:53 pm

    But the hostage release . . . Godspeed!

  • Sonja Fitch

    November 22, 2023 at 4:18 am

    Don’t know a lot of the history of the thousands of year these folks have been fighting. But there is more than Hamas just holding hostages. There are at least 5 other groups. Do they divide up Gaza and have an underground government? What the hell needs to be done to Stop this criminal activity ? Is this like a US north vs south bs? Listening to all news. Have learned more from BBC. CNN shared that there are more than one group holding hostages? Who is the man representing Hamas ? Who represents the other groups? FA Stop Stop Stop Stop!!!!

    • Ocean Joe

      November 22, 2023 at 8:52 am

      The Ayatollah sitting in Tehran, controls Hamas’ leadership with the cash. He is an expert in hostage taking if you recall the American embassy during the Carter administration. The leadership of Hamas live in Qatar in penthouse apartments and in Turkey, and have siphoned off enough “aid” to be millionaires and some alleged billionaires.
      Sinwar, the mastermind behind the Oct 7 slaughter was himself released by Israel in a prisoner swap. He was in prison for a good reason. He is a psychopath.
      Hamas assassinated Palestinian Authority candidates during the election that brought them to power. Throwing folks off the roof seems to be their preferred method.

      Release of some hostages might provide insight as to where others are held, Hamas demands an end to the surveillance during any ceasefire. They embed themselves in the civilian population and Israel has decided to extract them by force.
      I think you already know this and your kind heart sees only the killing of civilians, not the eternal obstacle to peaceful coexistence these violent stunts represent.

      I still wonder way the religion of peace found it necessary to kill over a hundred college students from Syracuse, or destroy the World Trade Center, or strap vest bombs to children, or to stand by silently while Assad dropped barrel bombs (55 gal drums filled with nails and metal fragments) and chemical weapons killing 500,000 Syrians and causing millions to flee who dared disagree.

  • Sonja Fitch

    November 22, 2023 at 4:19 am

    Stop! Stop! Stop! PEACE!

  • Sonja Fitch

    November 22, 2023 at 4:19 am

    Stop! Stop! Stop! PEACE!

  • Sonja Fitch

    November 22, 2023 at 4:20 am

    Stop moderating my free speech!!!

    • Earl Pitts "Sage Religious/Political Scholar Emeritus" American

      November 22, 2023 at 8:13 am

      I’m 🙏 sorry, beloved Sonja, that your postings were subject to monitoring and likely deemed inappropriate for public viewing.
      You may want to try to be a little more like me, Earl Pitts American, as a new life goal in order to take your mind off the current issues that are concerning you.
      Love Earl Pitts American, 😍 ♥

  • Earl Pitts "Sage Religious/Political Scholar Emeritus" American

    November 22, 2023 at 6:11 am

    Good Morn ‘ting America,
    50 hostages for 150 Muzzy psychopathic killers?
    MY BIG ‘OLE 8UTT !!!!
    That’s dealing from a position of weakness and appeasement to the 💩 4 🧠’Muzzys.
    If Earl Pitts American were in charge we would do a 150/150 trade. And if you Muzzys whizz off Earl we turn all the sand in the €ffin Mid-east into glass …. 🍄 🍄 🍄 🍄
    Other than that our 💩 4 🧠’s politicians are getting 50 back and there is some joy there.
    🍄 🍄 🍄 🍄

  • Impeach Biden

    November 22, 2023 at 6:59 am

    When this is all over, who will take all of those terrorists and Palestinians? None of the Arab nations want them. Where do you think they end up? What will our border czar and “Dementia” Joe do?

    • Ocean Joe

      November 22, 2023 at 8:59 am

      Egypt wont let them in, Jordan’s king is afraid of them, Hezbollah is Shia and will go to war with them once the Jews are dealt with, so I guess it’s Dearborn.
      The fact is, once Palestinians, especially those educated at Hebrew University, come to America they become highly productive, successful citizens.

      • My Take

        November 22, 2023 at 4:05 pm

        When numerous and prosperous enough here they can make a countèr-bid for America’s foreign policy.

  • My Take

    November 22, 2023 at 8:17 am

    It will be interesting to see if the media still call the captives “hostages” when it is only IDF left and they are in fact prisoners of war.

  • Richard Russell

    November 22, 2023 at 2:08 pm

    Israel will rue the day they agreed to a cease fire. How foolish can they be?

  • My Take

    November 22, 2023 at 4:10 pm

    In part, probably major part, the Arab nations do not want to take many Palestinian refugees is that would make them complicit is Israel’s desire to ethnically cleanse Palestine (and then annex the rest of it).

    • Ocean Joe

      November 24, 2023 at 6:04 pm

      You need to read up on what always happens when large numbers of Palestinians destabilize an Arab country. Specifically Jordan and Lebanon.

      • My Take

        November 25, 2023 at 8:37 pm

        Hardly a danger in large Egypt.
        Except maybe right near the border.
        Same with smaller and more distant Arab nations.
        Seemingly manageable.
        I think not being, and bring seen as, saps for Israel probably plays a ĺarge role.

      • My Take

        November 25, 2023 at 8:42 pm

        The obvious place where excapees from overcrowded Gaza should go is the West Bànk.
        Getting them enough jobs unassociated with the colonial power would be a challenge.

      • My Take

        November 25, 2023 at 8:51 pm

        If I were an Israeli leftist leader, I would grant the Palestinians a right-of-way for añ isolated highway (and maybè railroad) between Gaza and the West Bank, with Israel imspection authority.(and use). To promote integration and better allow depressurizing overcrowded Gaźa.

  • My Take

    November 22, 2023 at 9:13 pm

    I wonder just how the rat* Netanyahoo is using all this to try to stay in power ?
    *Are we still allowed to call evil people “rats”?
    I hear “vermin” is out

  • My Take

    November 23, 2023 at 5:39 pm

    Has anyone involved, or in high influence, or in control learned ANYTHING usefùl in preventing future occurences, especially in elìminating reasons and triggers?

Comments are closed.


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