Spokesperson for the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Majed al-Ansari, has told a news agency that the country hopes to see the truce in Gaza extended further.
Initial four-day truce was due to end on early Tuesday, November 28, 2023 but was given a two-day extension on Monday, November 27, 2023 evening.
Al-Ansari stated that Hamas has confirmed that as part of the extension, 20 extra hostages will be released in the next two days, “and on the Palestinian side that would mean from Israeli jails … 65 Palestinians will be released from Israeli prisons.”
“This is a hopeful moment for us that we can build on that momentum to increase the number of hostages being released but also to prepare the ground for a more sustainable truce to negotiations taking place,” he said.
“We began this mediation process in Doha right after October 7 and we made a lot of contributions. We moved from a point where there was absolutely no chance for mediation, to both parties now every day agreeing on the list and having hostages being released daily and we have reached a stop in fighting that is going to extend into almost a week now.”Majed al-Ansari
Palestinians say that the extension of the truce is a step in the right direction to reach an end to this conflict.
Also, it is perceived by many as a window of hope for them to return to their homes and rebuild what has been destroyed.
Some Palestinians queued outside banks to withdraw money, others lined up to fill their gas cylinders and Bakeries have opened up for the first time in two weeks.
However, the main concern for people in Gaza is trying to gain access to as many supplies – including food and water – and to get in contact with their relatives in the north, in case fighting resumes.
At the same time, people who fled the northern parts are disappointed they can’t go back. They still don’t know what happened to their houses or loved ones.
Desperate Situation In Gaza
According to UNICEF spokesperson, James Elder, who visited Gaza, the situation on the ground in the enclave is “desperate,” from the destruction of infrastructure to people fleeing their homes.
In a video posted on the agency’s website, Elder narrated, “Just seeing apartment block after apartment block, destroyed rubble on the ground, concrete, blown-up cars … whether it’s just the look on people’s faces, just the trauma … as if sorrow and sadness have taken root here in Gaza.”
“It’s an immensely difficult time right now,” he remarked, adding that with the truce, “People are recovering from so much over the last seven weeks and are so frightful that things will start again.”
“It’s a war zone … You’ve got hundreds of thousands of children who are not in school, who are in very overcrowded camps, who are cold, who do not have enough food, do not have enough water, who are now at risk of a disease outbreak. It’s a horrendous situation.”James Elder
Almost 15,000 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip, including more than 6,000 children.
Israeli forces have destroyed many cultural and educational landmarks in Gaza. Some of the prominent ones include Municipal Public Library at Gaza City, Rashad El Shawa Cultural Center, Diana Tamari Sabbagh Library, Municipal printing press,Childhood Happiness Center and the Islamic University.
“This humanitarian pause has to, in all good conscience, turn into a humanitarian ceasefire and then lasting peace,” Elder urged.
“People need time to recover and we need time to deliver aid. That’s why a lasting peace is the only thing that will ultimately protect people here,” he added.