The resumption of hostilities in Gaza following the end of the recent “humanitarian pause” has seen intensive fighting in the south of the territory. This will, of course, lead to further civilian casualties on the Palestinian side, though the Israeli military insists it is in pursuit of Hamas militants and the leadership of the group behind the October 7 atrocities.
What of the remaining hostages held in Gaza though? Leonie Fleischmann, Senior Lecturer in International Politics, City, University of London, writes:
The taking of Israeli hostages is not a new strategy for Palestinian militant organisations, who have used hostages as bargaining chips for prisoner swaps. But the scale and demographics of those captured on October 7 are unprecedented.
… due to pressure domestically – not least from hostages’ families – and from Washington, Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, agreed to a three-to-one ratio release of Palestinians for Israelis, alongside a temporary ceasefire.
But she warns …
From here, negotiations for further exchanges are likely to become more difficult. The Israeli security establishment will be reluctant to release Palestinians who have been convicted of murder and who are considered to pose a significant security threat. Hamas, meanwhile, will place a higher value on the men that they continue to hold.
For more on this and other articles relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, click here. And for our ongoing coverage of COP28, click here.