Israel Releases 30 Palestinian Prisoners, Including Ahed Tamimi
In a bid to ease tensions, Israel has released 30 Palestinian prisoners, with a bus carrying some of the detainees arriving in the West Bank city of Ramallah before dawn. Among those released was Ahed Tamimi, a 22-year-old activist who gained worldwide fame in 2017 after a video of her slapping an Israeli soldier went viral on social media.
At the same time, China is urging the UN Security Council to intensify diplomatic mediation and relaunch the two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There were also hostages released today, including 12 Israelis and four Thais.
In exchange for the Palestinian prisoners released, 16 minors and 14 women were included in the deal, as confirmed by the Qatari foreign ministry. However, a Hamas source has expressed dissatisfaction with Israel’s proposals for a truce extension, just ahead of the expiration of the current truce.
The Palestine Red Cross Society issued a statement confirming the delivery of 21 trucks of aid into Gaza and northern areas on Wednesday, signaling efforts to provide humanitarian assistance.
In response to the escalating tensions, Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, has announced that Israeli forces are ready to resume fighting if necessary. This comes as two boys, aged 8 and 15, were shot and killed by Israeli forces on Wednesday in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, as reported by the Palestinian health ministry.
The situation further escalated following reports that three members of the Bibas family, including a 10-month-old, were killed. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu assured the family representatives that the matter was being investigated by Israel’s security forces.
The US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, expressed hope that the truce in Gaza between Israel and Hamas can be extended, while Qatar announced the arrival of three aircraft carrying 108 tons of aid for Palestinians in Gaza.
Addressing the UN Security Council, Palestine’s foreign minister emphasized that the ongoing violence is not a war, but a “carnage that no one can justify,” and called for an end to the crisis.
In response to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, an international conference is set to be hosted by Jordan, aiming to coordinate humanitarian aid efforts. UN Secretary-General António Guterres has described the situation in Gaza as an “epic humanitarian catastrophe” and emphasized the urgency of addressing it.