Concerns that the planned list might split up some children from their mothers have put a hold on negotiations for the release of the fourth wave of Israeli hostages held by Hamas, according to an Israeli official quoted in The Times of Israel. Israel claims that this kind of separation—which happened once previously during the interim ceasefire—is forbidden under the agreement with Hamas.
Less than an hour before the planned release, the Prime Minister’s Office reported that discussions over the captive list are still in progress, raising doubts about the outcome of today’s fourth possible release of Gazan hostages. The statement highlights the knowledge of family conflict and cautions against the dissemination of false information or rumors.
“We are aware of the tension experienced by the families, and we will add information when this becomes possible,” the message said. It continued, “We request avoiding spreading rumours and unreliable information.” It’s commonly known that Israel disagrees with the list of captives who need to be released. The fourth and last group of 50 on Monday During a four-day ceasefire, Hamas has pledged to relinquish power. For every ten more hostages freed, the ceasefire may be prolonged by one day.
Making sure that the children on the list are not freed without their moms or grandparents, who may also be in captivity, is one of the ongoing difficulties in the conversations. The agreement states that family members must be released apart; however, Hamas broke this requirement on Saturday when it freed a captive without her mother, according to an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) source quoted in The Times of Israel.
Israel, Hamas, the United States, and Qatar are mediating these disputes; the most recent list of captives is scheduled to be made public on the last day of the four-day ceasefire. There have been conflicting reports about the release’s status. An Israeli source says there are no moms on the list, while another claims there is at least one mother on the list. The release of two American women who are scheduled to be released on Monday is also unclear.
According to the White House, there’s no guarantee that further US prisoners will be freed from Gaza on Monday. According to CNN, Israel and Hamas are now in the fourth and maybe last day of their ceasefire. Coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council John Kirby told CNN that the government is monitoring the issue “literally by the hour” and that they “don’t know” whether the two American women are scheduled for release later today.
Kirby said, “I believe we’ll have a better idea later this morning about who will be in this next group that comes out today. The two American women who are on that list and are expected to be reunited with their families today are certainly our hopes. That is undoubtedly our goal.”
He also emphasized how uncertain it is where any American hostages held by organizations other than Hamas are. He said that “perfect visibility as to where they are and who’s exactly holding them” is not available to the government.
“But we have to keep open the possibility that some other groups other than Hamas might be holding some of those additional Americans,” said Kirby. At least 50 women and children detained in Gaza have been freed in return for at least 150 Palestinian women and children released from Israeli jails according to the continuing agreement between Israel and Hamas.
40 Israeli captives have been freed by Hamas as the ceasefire approaches its fourth day; 13 were released on Friday, 13 on Saturday, and 14 on Sunday, according to CNN. 21 minors, no older than 18 years old, 11 adult women, 7 women 65 years of age or older, and Roni Krivoy, an Israeli-Russian man released as an exceptional case outside the terms of the agreement, are among the persons who have been freed.
In addition, eighteen foreign people, including one Filipino and seventeen Thai nationals, were released from Gaza via independent discussions that were not part of the Israel-Hamas agreement. Israeli jails freed 117 women and children, 39 on Friday, 39 on Saturday, and 39 on Sunday. Among those released are 87 male teenagers who are 18 years of age or younger, two adolescent females, and 28 adult women.
Of the Palestinian detainees freed, 76 were under administrative custody and 41 had already been tried and found guilty. According to the terms of the first agreement between Israel and Hamas, the ceasefire would last for four days as long as Hamas released ten or more Israeli captives every day. According to CNN, the White House is keeping a close eye on events and the situation is still fluid.