Israel believes Hamas could potentially locate some 30 more mothers and children and that the 4-day halt could be extended by extra day per each 10 Israeli hostages freed
In an unprecedented vote early Wednesday morning, Israel’s cabinet approved an agreement to secure the release of roughly 50 hostages who were abducted into Gaza during the October 7 terror onslaught.
A government statement announcing the result of the vote did not specify how ministers voted. Despite expressing earlier opposition to the agreement, the far-right Religious Zionism party voted in favor, with only members of National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s ultranationalist Otzma Yehudit faction voting against, according to Hebrew media.
Not all details of the agreement have been formally released to the public, but an Israeli government official briefing reporters on Tuesday said the deal is expected to see the release of 50 living Israeli citizens, mostly women and children, in groups of 12-13 people per day.
In exchange, Israel has agreed to a ceasefire for at least four days for the first time since the outbreak of the war.
The government confirmed those terms of the agreement following the vote, without offering details regarding any of the other Israeli concessions.
“The Israeli government is committed to bringing all the abductees home. Tonight, the government approved the outline for the first stage of achieving this goal, under which at least 50 abductees – women and children – will be released over a span of four days, during which there will be a lull in the fighting,” the statement said.
“The release of every ten additional abductees will result in an additional day of respite,” it added.
“The Israeli government, the IDF and the security forces will continue the war to return all the abductees, complete the elimination of Hamas and ensure that Gaza does not renew any threat to the State of Israel.”
Israel also agreed to release Palestinian women and minors from prison and let them return to their homes, mostly in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel has avoided offering a specific number, but Hebrew media has placed the figure at 150. A Palestinian Authority minister told Al Arabiya on Tuesday that 350 jailed Palestinian minors and 82 jailed Palestinian women would be freed in the swap.
Israel also agreed to allow additional fuel into Gaza as well as significant amounts of humanitarian aid, which have not entered the enclave in large quantities due to the ongoing war.
The government confirmed those terms of the agreement following the vote,