Hostage Exchange & Prisoner Exchange
- On December 1, the temporary truce between Hamas and Israel ended, after its original four days and an additional three days of extensions.
- Hamas released 69 hostages and Israel released 150 Palestinian detainees during the first four days of a humanitarian pause, which began on November 24, 2023.
- On the fifth day, the humanitarian pause was extended for 48 hours. Hamas released an additional 12 hostages and Israel released 30 Palestinians.
- On the sixth day, Hamas released 16 hostages and Israel released 30 Palestinians.
- When the pause was extended for a seventh day on November 30, Hamas released eight Israeli hostages and Israel released 30 Palestinian detainees.
- Fighting resumed hours after the seventh round of exchanges occurred. Both Israel and Hamas blame each other for the return to hostilities.
- Israel claims that Hamas violated the terms of the pause, fired toward Israeli territory, and “did not live up to its duty to release all the kidnapped women.”
- Hamas issued a statement asserting that it offered to exchange prisoners and release the bodies of those “killed and detained as a result of the Israeli bombing.”
- In total, the temporary pause secured the release of 105 hostages from Hamas and 240 Palestinian detainees from Israel.
- The 240 Palestinian detainees released by Israel included women, children, and men aged 18 or 19.
- According to Israeli data, 75% of the Palestinian detainees released during the ceasefire had not been convicted of a crime.
- All of the released detainees were held for offenses pertaining to Israeli security. Specific actions committed by detainees include comparatively smaller offenses, such as throwing stones, or larger allegations, for example, supporting terrorism.
- According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, Israel currently holds 7,200 Palestinians, including about 2,000 arrested since the start of the war.
- At least 2,070 Palestinian detainees are held in Israeli prisons without charge.
- According to Israeli authorities, 137 hostages remain in Gaza.
What Were the Detainment Conditions?
- The hostages held by Hamas reported a range of circumstances. Many were kept underground and subjected to food shortages, psychological damage, and lack of medical services amid Israel's operations on Gaza.
- Eight released Israeli hostages wrote a letter to the International Committee of the Red Cross asking the organization to visit the remaining hostages and provide medical care.
- The Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, reported that some of the released hostages are frustrated with Israeli lawmakers’ approach to protect and secure the release of hostages.
- Palestinian detainees reported severe physical abuse, humiliation, and neglect in Israeli prisons.
- For example, 18-year-old Mohammed Nazal says he was beaten by Israeli guards and medical records show that his hands were fractured during his incarceration.
- On October 31, amid the ongoing war, Israeli authorities extended the state of emergency in prisons which grants Israel virtually unrestrained powers to deny access to rights including visits by lawyers, family, and the Red Cross; collective punishment measures such as cutting off water and electricity; and other ill-treatment.
- Prior to October 7, Israel’s Chief Public Defender Anat Meyassed-Cnaan said Israeli prisons are overcrowded and create degrading conditions for prisoners. Since the start of the war, Israel has arrested an additional 2,000 Palestinian prisoners.