Gaza truce hopes infographic
Graphic shows key events in seven-month Gaza Strip conflict.


Israel host­age hopes rise

By Duncan Mil

April 30, 2024 - After weeks of dead­lock, Israel has softened its stance on the con­di­tions for a hostage deal with Hamas, rais­ing hopes of a break­through in dip­lo­matic efforts to end the war in Gaza.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday urged Hamas to accept Israel’s proposal for a truce and the release of Israeli hostages held by the Palestinian militant group.

“The only thing standing between the people of Gaza and a ceasefire is Hamas. They have to decide and they have to decide quickly,” Blinken said at a meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

“I’m hopeful that they will make the right decision.”

Israel’s proposal entails a deal for the release of 33 of roughly 130 hostages held in Gaza in exchange for freeing Palestinians jailed in Israel.

A total of 253 hostages were seized in a Hamas attack on southern Israel on October 7, in which about 1,200 Israelis were also killed, according to Israeli data.

Israel retaliated by mounting an air and ground assault that has killed about 34,500 Palestinians, according to Gaza health authorities.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Cameron, who was also in Riyadh for the WEF meeting, described the Israeli proposal, which includes a 40-day pause in fighting, as “generous.”

PUBLISHED: 30/04/2024; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Getty Images