By Athena Papakosta

Israel and Hamas agreed to extend the truce for two more days. The relevant announcement was made by Qatar, which remains the main mediator between the warring parties.

The Islamist Palestinian organization was said to be seeking a four-day extension with the existing agreement between Israel and Hamas providing for such a possibility from the outset, but on a daily basis.

The new agreement to extend the truce was confirmed by the armed Palestinian organization underlining that the terms of the original agreement will remain in force while, so far, Israel has not made any official announcement, remaining, however, in favor of daily extensions according to which for each additional day ten hostages and 30 Palestinian prisoners will be released.

For its part, the White House welcomed the extension stressing that “Hamas has committed to release 20 women and children in the next two days” reiterating that Washington remains in favor of further extending the truce and stressing that “this will depend on Hamas ».
However, Israel has repeatedly made it clear that, when the truce ends, it intends to resume its operations in the Gaza Strip.

After the temporary truce what?

According to analysts, the next step of the Israeli armed forces will be to eliminate the forces of Hamas in the north and crush them in the southern part of the Palestinian enclave, specifically in Khan Younis, where it is estimated that the leader of the organization, Yahya Shinwar, is hiding.

“We will continue until the end, until victory. Nothing will stop us,” stressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday afternoon, addressing Israeli soldiers in northern Gaza, reiterating Israel’s three goals “to destroy Hamas, to get back all our people who were kidnapped, and to make sure that , that Gaza does not become a threat to Israel again.”

International news media, such as the British newspaper The Guardian, report that the Israel Defense Forces yesterday, Monday, indicated that their most likely approach will be to evacuate settlements and areas in the south of Gaza before their new attacks with military analysts to insist that the new phase of the war could last months.

The… mathematics of liberation

So far, 50 Israeli hostages and 19 abductees from other countries have been released, while 150 Palestinian prisoners have been released.

Before the exchanges began on Monday, an Israeli official said 184 people remained hostage, including 14 foreign nationals and 80 Israelis with dual citizenship.

If Hamas wishes to release them all it will need at least another two and a half weeks of ceasefire.

However, among them are Israeli soldiers for whose release, analysts estimate, it is possible that the Islamist Palestinian organization will set new, stricter conditions and demands.

Back to the Middle East Blinken

With the four-day truce receiving a 48-hour extension and while the diplomatic marathon at the international level continues, the foreign minister of
of the United States, Anthony Blinken, is visiting the Middle East for the third time.

Stops on his new trip will be Israel, the West Bank and the United Arab Emirates.

The goal of the American Secretary of State is to “underline the need to continue the increased flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza, to ensure the release of all hostages and to ensure the protection of Gaza’s civilians”, while the discussion will not be absent from his agenda of Washington’s positions on the next day in Gaza and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.