Israel insists that no ceasefire is possible before the release of the hostages by Hamas. Calls from the international community mainly revolve around “humanitarian pauses”, without concrete results for the moment.
Forty-three days of war. And clashes which have already left more than 12,000 dead in the Gaza Strip, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health, and 1,200 on the Israeli side, according to the Hebrew State (no source on site is able to confirm these balance sheets). The humanitarian emergency is being proclaimed by all NGOs, while the Israeli response to the Hamas terrorist attacks continues in the Gaza Strip, more than two thirds of whose inhabitants have already been displaced by the clashes, according to the UN.
Ceasefire, humanitarian pauses… What options can be considered by the forces present, and under what conditions? Franceinfo takes stock of the current discussions.
For Israel: “There is no alternative to victory”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refuses any possibility of an immediate ceasefire. In a televised address on November 11, the leader explained that a pause in the fighting would only be possible if the 239 hostages held by Hamas members in Gaza were released, according to the Associated Press report.
“The war against (Hamas) is moving at full speed and it has one goal: to win. There is no alternative to victory.”Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister
during a televised speech
Israel’s National Security Council Chairman Tzachi Hanegbi said Friday that Israel would agree to a ceasefire only if Hamas released a number “massive” hostages. “And it would be very limited and short, because then we will continue to advance towards our war objectives”he detailed during a press conference, according to the daily Times of Israel.
“We will not stop until all military and command capabilities of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are eradicated.”Tzachi Hanegbi, president of the National Security Council of Israel
during a press conference
On November 9, the White House announced that Israel agreed to put in place “humanitarian breaks” of four hours a day in the north of the Gaza Strip, to give the Palestinians the opportunity to leave for the South. Israel contested, explaining that it had already implemented this measure daily for several days, but that it was a “humanitarian corridor” and not of a “break”explains the daily The Times of Israel.
For Hamas: truce, releases and humanitarian aid
No negotiations for the release of Israeli soldiers held hostage until the Israeli army stops its “assault” on Gaza. This was the position held by a representative in Lebanon of the armed wing of Hamas on October 21, reports the Turkish Anadolu agency.
As for the other hostages, however, discussions are underway, under the mediation of Qatar. For example, four hostages were released in October.
The armed wing of Hamas more recently offered Israel the release of nearly 70 women and children hostages, in exchange for a five-day truce including “a complete ceasefire and the authorization of humanitarian aid throughout the Gaza Strip”as well as the release of 275 Palestinian women and children imprisoned in Israel, according to a spokesperson for the Islamist group cited by the Reuters agency.
The international community: between “humanitarian pauses” and withdrawal of Israeli forces
Benyamin Netanyahu benefits from strong support in his refusal of the ceasefire: his American counterpart Joe Biden. The President of the United States declared on November 9 that there was no “no possibility” for a ceasefire in Gaza, according to the Washington Postand that the Israeli offensive would end when Hamas “will no longer have the capacity to kill, rape and do horrible things” to Israel, reports the BBC.
On November 4, American Secretary of State Antony Blinken also estimated that a ceasefire would allow Hamas to “regroup and repeat the attack of October 7”. But “the release of a large number of hostages would lead (…) to a significant pause in the fighting and a massive influx of humanitarian aid”promised Brett McGurk, a senior adviser to US President Joe Biden for the Middle East, quoted by AFP.
The UN Security Council goes further: on November 15 it supported a resolution calling for “urgent and prolonged humanitarian breaks during (A) sufficient number of days to allow the entry of humanitarian aid”. The United States and the United Kingdom abstained because the text did not contain an explicit condemnation of Hamas, as did Russia because it did not call for an immediate ceasefire, but the declaration remains important: it is the first resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict not to receive a veto from the Security Council since 2016, recalls the Guardian.
For their part, the leaders of 57 Arab and Muslim countries called for an end to the fighting in Gaza and the immediate entry of humanitarian aid. They also called on the International Court of Justice, a UN body, to open an investigation into Israel’s attacks in Gaza, saying the war “cannot be called self-defense and cannot be justified by any means”reports Associated Press.
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