The pause in the fighting in Gaza — with some humanitarian aid allowed in and exchange of some Israeli and Palestinian captives — is important, but not nearly enough. We need to fight for a permanent ceasefire.

by Khury Petersen-Smith and Phyllis Bennis, Foreign Policy in Focus

In the current deal between Israel and Hamas — brokered by Qatar, Egypt, and the United States — all parties agree to stop fighting for four days. Hamas will release 50 women and children it took captive on October 7, and Israel will release 150 women and children who are among the 10,000 or so Palestinians it holds in Israeli military prisons.

There is the possibility of extending the pause — and exchanging more captives — for up to five more days after the initial agreement is implemented, potentially leading to a pause of as many as nine days.

posters of hostages and slogans about gaza on a grafittied pole

The most obvious significance of this deal is humanitarian. Captives will be freed from Gaza and from Israel, and Israel’s massive bombardment of Gaza will pause, as will Palestinian fighters’ firing of rockets into Israel. Desperately needed humanitarian aid convoys and fuel will be allowed into Gaza.

This is also important because it proves that diplomacy can work.

Ending the continuing deaths under Israeli bombs, and securing the release of captives is happening not because of fighting, but because of negotiations. And that means more diplomacy can work too — perhaps leading to a full ceasefire, an exchange of all captives, full humanitarian access into Gaza, and ultimately an end to the siege of the Gaza Strip.

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