Regarding the current situation of a hostage release deal, Hamas is unlikely to reject the Gaza ceasefire proposal it received from mediators this week but will not sign it without assurances that Israel has committed to ending the war, a Palestinian official close to the talks said on Thursday. Qatari and Egyptian mediators presented Hamas with the first concrete proposal for an extended halt to fighting in Gaza, agreed with Israel and the United States at last week’s talks in Paris. Hamas has said it is studying the text and preparing a response.
The Palestinian official said the Paris text envisions a first phase lasting 40 days, during which fighting would cease while Hamas freed remaining civilians from among the 139 hostages it is still holding. Further phases would see the release of Israeli soldiers and the handover of the bodies of dead hostages. “I expect that Hamas will not reject the paper, but it might not give a decisive agreement either,” said the Palestinian official speaking on condition of anonymity. “Instead, I expect them to send a positive response and reaffirm their demands: for the agreement to be signed, it must ensure Israel will commit to ending the war in Gaza and pull out from the enclave completely.” The only pause in the fighting so far, at the end of November, lasted only a week.
As for our casualties, 223 Israeli soldiers have died since the beginning of the war, in addition, of course, to the 1,200 people killed on Ocober 7th itself. Thousands more have been injured as well.
On the Lebanese border The Defense Ministry on Thursday announced that 427 houses of northern residents have suffered structural damage by Hezbollah rockets and anti-tank missiles since October. 80 of the houses have experienced direct hits and much greater damage. Approximately 80,000 northern residents evacuated their homes in October under fire by Hezbollah once the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza started. Cross border incidents continue although Lebanese government officials have, earlier this week, made statements saying they are not prepared to offer up their population as fodder for a war by Hezbollah against Israel. On the Israeli side the IDF continues to speak about patience running out and the possibility of an incursion into Southern Lebanon which is controlled by Hezbollah.
Continuing our search for new people to enter the political arena after the war ends, we highlight Aharon Aharon, the founder of tech company CPorto and former CEO of the Israel Innovation Authority, an independent public entity that operates for the benefit of the Israeli innovation ecosystem and Israeli economy as a whole. Its role is to nurture and develop Israeli innovation resources, while creating and strengthening the infrastructure and framework needed to support the entire knowledge industry.
Prior to his role at the Authority, Aharon served as the VP of Hardware Technologies and General Manager of Apple Israel. His previous roles were Co-founder, CEO, and chairman of Camero, a startup developing through-the-wall micro-power radars, active Chairman of the Board at Discretix, a startup providing solutions for data security, CEO of Seabridge, a wholly owned subsidiary of Siemens and COO of Zoran. Prior to that, he held a number of senior management positions at the IBM Research Division.
Aharon holds a B.Sc and M.Sc in Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering respectively from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, where he lectured for more than 15 years.
Israel will need all the newly minted talent it can find as it works to re-establish the confidence of the electorate in the government’s capability to protect us. May it be so and soon.