• en

Hamas Demands Full Cessation of Aggression For Further Hostage Releases

The US has expressed support for the UN’s latest draft resolution on humanitarian aid for Gaza.

RAMALLAH, WEST BANK – JULY 13: In this handout photo provided by the Palestinian Press Office (PPO), Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (C) meets with the Central Committee of the Fatah movement July 13, 2014 in Ramallah, West Bank. The total number of Palestinians killed by Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip since Monday has reached 166, according to a Palestinian Health Ministry official. (Photo by Thaer Ghanaim/PPO via Getty Images)

Hamas, the governing authority in the Gaza Strip, has declared that it will not release any more hostages until Israel agrees to a “full cessation of aggression.” This announcement comes after Israel claimed to have killed over 2,000 Hamas fighters in Gaza since the recent truce, during which more than 100 hostages were freed. Approximately 120 people abducted from Israel on October 7 remain in captivity in Gaza.

Efforts at the United Nations to pass a resolution on the ongoing conflict have been facing challenges, with the US expressing serious concerns over the draft UN Security Council resolution but the US has expressed support for the UN’s latest draft resolution on humanitarian aid for Gaza. The former draft emphasized the need for a sustainable cessation of hostilities to create conditions for providing essential aid but the final version calls for creating the conditions for one. The voting on the resolution, originally scheduled for Thursday, has been postponed to Friday.

Fighting continues in Gaza, with Israel conducting airstrikes in the north and south of the territory, and Hamas launching rockets towards Tel Aviv. Casualties reported include the director of the police station in the southern city of Khan Younis and a daughter of the head of the Gaza health ministry.

Despite the week-long truce earlier this month, negotiations for a new truce in Cairo, Egypt, have not resulted in an agreement. Hamas’s statement, asserting a Palestinian national decision to link hostage releases to a complete cessation of aggression, adds complexity to the already challenging situation.

Israel has been employing military pressure and rescue operations to secure the release of hostages, but Hamas insists on a halt to aggression before engaging in any talks about prisoners or exchange deals. The Israeli government faces a difficult decision as it balances military strategies with pressure from hostage relatives urging a change in approach.

It has said it thinks the best way to get the release of hostages is military pressure on Hamas and by staging rescue operations. But so far only one hostage has actually been rescued.

The conflict has taken a toll on Gaza’s population, with the Hamas-run health ministry reporting an overall death toll of 20,057 since October 7. The situation is dire, with concerns about famine within six months if hostilities persist. The World Health Organization said northern Gaza has been left without a functional hospital due to lack of fuel, staff and supplies. 

Kiki Garba

Follow us on: