Will The Hamas-Israel Truce Deal Survive? – OpEd


The recent truce between Hamas and Israel to stop the bloodshed of Gaza is welcomed by the international community. The four-day reprieve of constant bombing of the strip, now going on for the last 47 days, is seen as a cautious breakthrough to a more permanent ceasefire. 

The truce comes after weeks of intense negotiations spearheaded by the Qatari government; and has been made in coordination with Egypt and the United States. Qatar sought to act as go-between Hamas and Israel to bring the viewpoints of the two, closer together and finally lead to an effective end of the war.

But states involved are trying to stay calm and not get their hopes up too high. The truce, involving the exchange of a limited amount of prisoners, as well as allowing the maximum amount of trucks of food, equipment and fuel – with some saying up to 200 lorries per day – can be renewed by the parties involved.

Hamas has stipulated and apparently agreed by the Israeli government that no military planes will fly over southern Gaza in the duration of the truce, plus their planes will not fly over north Gaza, between 10 am and 6 pm local time and allow the movement of people from south to north but with much destruction why would people want to do that?

Nudged by the Americans, the Israeli government dropped its original demand not to talk to Hamas and seek to eliminate the movement while harking back on bringing by force its 250 hostages – Israelis and foreign – captured by members of the Islamic movement on 7 October when it infiltrated Israeli territories dramatically and allegedly killed up to 1200 people and dragged those it captured back into Gaza.

New leaf 

The temporary truce centers on the release by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the release of 50 hostages. These are women and children and held in different areas of the strip, probably in many of the underground tunnels the resistance rebuilt after 2014 when thousands were destroyed after Israel’s 51-day war on the enclave. In turn, the Israeli government, almost unanimously said it would release 150 Palestinian women and children it holds in its jails, and with the truce to begin Thursday at mid-day and evening. 

The odd one out was Itamar Ben Gavir, a settler extremist. He said the three members of his party, who are also ministers, don’t agree with the government move that is seen as capitulation to Hamas and Islamic Jihad and which it will sure to regret.

The first batch of 50 hostages are to be released on a daily basis. The Palestinian resistance would free at least 10 hostages on each day of the truce, including two American women and a toddler. As opposite, it was agreed for each 10 released, 30 Palestinians, also women and children would be freed. Partly as a carrot, the Israelis say if more hostages are released then extra days will be added to the truce. 

All sides – the Qataris, Egyptians and members of the Biden administration have been working behind closed doors, gently nudging and cajoling. American president Joe Biden has taken a direct interest in the release of the hostages through Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who spend the war period travelling to Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Qatar to pressure for their release while at the same time offering incentives about opening the Rafah border and pressuring Israel to allow more food trucks into the starved Gaza Strip.

Awkward position

The Biden administration had been in an awkward position in this war. They want to demonstrate support to Israel but embarrassed by the non-stop aerial bombardment of Gaza – as the last count shows it dropped 40,000 tons of explosives on residential areas, schools, hospitals and mosques and churches – and it had the hostages to consider about 35 of which are Americans.  

Blinken said he will be working to ensure that the latest truce deal will be renewed and all the hostages will eventually be out. Also, the Qatar Foreign Minister Shiekh Mohammad bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani said he will be working for the second stage of the deal where another 50 are expected to be released. 

Judging from the past weeks, the coming days and weeks are also expected to be tough with much patience, quite negotiations and long overhaul diplomacy. 

With the present truce deal, it appears the Israeli air force, its army and Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters who have been battling each other in different areas of north Gaza over the past few weeks, will now desist, cease military engagement for the duration of the first truce and subsequent ones if there are any. 

The Israeli government and its military, as it has made clear, is under no obligation to cease the bombings after the first truce and has said it will be prepared to continue the war. But it might be deliberately sending confused signals as it would need to tread carefully if it wants the release of more hostages because of the current domestic pressure its facing and keep on the good side of the White House.

Thus, many are cautiously hoping the start of the truce deal would lead to a permanent ceasefire and parties including the Americans, Qataris, Jordanians, Egyptians and even Israelis, are pushing towards that end. 


Although they wreaked much havoc, destruction and loss of human lives over Gaza – with the latest count at over 14,000 dead and more than 5000 children killed over seven weeks – the war has been catastrophic for the Israeli economy, forcing the government to borrow over $6 billion through international private investors. The worry is that it might continue on that road if no deal is reached and further pounding Gaza to the ground.

 With 350,000 called up for reserves many private businesses are going down the drain and facing mass closures with the country’s national debt forecasted to be three times as much by next year.  

This is not to mention the huge losses the Israelis are suffering in their ground war. According to censored army reports, a total of 71 soldiers and high-rank officers have so far been killed in Gaza. This is not to mention the tanks, armored cars and artillery they are losing to Izz Al Din Al Qassam fighters and members of Saraya Al Quds, the military wing of Islamic Jihad. These costs billions of dollars and the bill likely to keep spiking.

This latest truce is, unfortunately, just the beginning of the road, it is the first step and what is needed is an enormous political will by leaders from all over the world to make it work.

Dr. Marwan Asmar

Dr. Marwan Asmar holds a PhD from Leeds University and is a freelance writer specializing on the Middle East. He has worked as a journalist since the early 1990s in Jordan and the Gulf countries, and been widely published, including at Albawaba, Gulf News, Al Ghad, World Press Review and others.

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