Ceasefire agreement: No detainee release before Friday, Israel declares

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TEL AVIV — The Israeli National Security Advisor announced on Wednesday evening that no detainees in Gaza would be released before Friday, despite an agreement between the two sides on a temporary ceasefire.اضافة اعلان

In a press release, National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi stated that "communications regarding the release of detainees are progressing and continuing constantly."
He added that the release would follow the original agreement between the two sides and would not occur before Friday, Al-Mamlaka TV, Reuters reported. 

This statement came just minutes after Israeli officials notified journalists that a media center would be opened in Tel Aviv on Thursday afternoon "to cover the return of the detainees."
Hanegbi did not provide further details and did not mention any changes to the agreed-upon ceasefire with Hamas, which the Israeli Cabinet approved early on Wednesday. An Israeli official had earlier stated that the ceasefire would take effect at 10am on Thursday.

The “right decision” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the temporary ceasefire agreement with Hamas and the detainee exchange as the "right decision." However, he emphasized that the war would continue until all detainees were returned and Hamas was eliminated.

This was conveyed in a joint press conference by Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and Minister of Military Affairs Benny Gantz on Wednesday evening, broadcast on the Israeli Prime Minister's social media page.

“Continue to prepare for war” – Netanyahu 
Netanyahu stated that the Israeli army and security leaders had fully approved the exchange deal, ensuring the security of Israeli forces during the ceasefire. He also affirmed that intelligence efforts would continue during this period, stating, "Meanwhile, the army will continue to prepare for war."
He added that the war in Gaza would persist even after the implementation of the Israeli detainees' exchange agreement with Palestinian prisoners, saying, "I want to be clear, the war continues until we achieve all our goals, which are the return of all detainees and the elimination of Hamas."

Netanyahu mentioned that the deal with Hamas would not include the release of Palestinian prisoners involved in killing Israelis, and he emphasized that there would be no tolerance for any ceasefire violations, hinting at a possible return to military operations before the ceasefire ends.

He also stated that the Red Cross would be allowed to visit the remaining detainees not covered by the deal, providing them with necessary medications. Netanyahu said, "This is an explicit provision in the agreement, and I hope the organization will perform its work."

He emphasized that they were working "non-stop" to return all detainees and ensure that Hamas did not pose a threat to Israel, stressing that achieving this goal was sacred but could not always be accomplished through military means.

Netanyahu confirmed that he had instructed the Israeli foreign intelligence agency (Mossad) to "act against Hamas leaders wherever they are," adding, "One thing must be understood: we are interested in returning all detainees according to these broad lines, and perhaps beyond that, but we do not give them a blank check to do as they please."

No commitment to return displaced people to southern Gaza
Regarding the return of displaced people to southern Gaza, Netanyahu stated that they had no commitment to allowing residents of Gaza to cross from the south to the north after the military operations ended.

In a separate statement, Defense Minister Gallant discussed the exchange deal with Hamas, stating that "the agreement we obtained is the soundest and best compared to what we had a week ago." He added that the decision to release the detainees was one of the most challenging he had faced in over 40 years of service to Israel, expressing his conviction that it was the right decision.

Gallant affirmed that the end of this war should come through dismantling Hamas as a military entity and returning all detainees. He emphasized Israel's commitment to intensifying its efforts to exert more pressure on Hamas.

He also mentioned that by the end of December and the beginning of January, the Israeli government might allow the residents of towns located 4 kilometers north of the Gaza Strip to return.
The detainee exchange for Palestinian prisoners is part of a humanitarian ceasefire reached through joint Qatari, Egyptian, and American efforts, lasting for four days and extendable.

The Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the agreement includes the exchange of 50 detainees, including civilian women and children in Gaza, in the first stage, in return for the release of Palestinian women and children detained in Israeli prisons.

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