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Cease-Fire Begins – Hostages Come Next

A brief pause in hostilities.

Israel and Hamas began a four-day cease-fire this morning, November 24, as part of a negotiated hostage release package. During the next 96 hours, up to 50 Israeli hostages (including several Americans) will be released, as will 150 Palestinian prisoners. Whether the cease-fire will hold for the stated time remains uncertain, but both sides have publicly expressed optimism.

The Israel Defense Force (IDF) posted on X that it “has completed its operational preparations according to the defensive positions of the pause” and that:

“This morning, 4 tankers of fuel and 4 tankers of cooking gas—designated for operating essential humanitarian infrastructure—were transferred from Egypt to UN humanitarian aid organizations in southern Gaza, via the Rafah Crossing.

“This was approved by the Israeli government as part of the pause and the framework for the release of the hostages, as agreed with the US and mediated by Qatar and Egypt.”

The pause in hostilities began at 7 a.m. local time (12 a.m. EST), and, at the time of writing, no bombings or attacks have been reported.

Just a Cease-Fire

Although Israel has offered an extra day of peace for every additional ten hostages released, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made clear that the destruction of Hamas would inevitably resume. Speaking to Fox News earlier this week, he said:

“We have to win not only for our sake, but for the sake of the Middle East, for the sake of our Arab neighbors. You know what, for the sake of Gazans who’ve been held by this dark tyranny that has brutalized and brought them nothing but bloodshed and poverty and misery.

“We have to win to protect Israel. We have to win to safeguard the Middle East. We have to win for the sake of the civilized world. That’s the battle we’re fighting, and it’s being waged right now. There is no substitute for that victory.”

The first group of hostages – thought to consist of 13 women and children – will be released later today.

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