The ongoing truce extension negotiations have shifted into what analysts call a “pragmatic” phase, which involves various mediators and stakeholders. Hamas has signalled a willingness to extend the pause in fighting.

With the agreed-upon pause in the Israel-Hamas war approaching its expiration, diplomatic talks are currently in progress to secure a truce extension. The negotiations involve mediators from the United States, Qatar, and Egypt and entered a crucial phase on Wednesday. The primary focus of these talks revolves around determining the conditions for extending the truce.

The discussions were especially centred on the exchange of captives.

A major development in the peace process is the Hamas announcement on the release of 30 Palestinian women and children from Israeli prisons. The detainees hail from various cities in the occupied West Bank, including Hebron, Ramallah, and Jerusalem.

This reciprocal gesture followed the release of ten Israelis and two foreign nationals from Gaza.

However, the fragile nature of the truce became apparent as the Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinian children as they continue with a major raid in Jenin in the occupied West Bank. Hospitals were surrounded, and the work of medical teams was obstructed, raising concerns about the humanitarian impact of military operations in densely populated areas.

Israel has killed more than 15,000 Palestinians, including 6,150 children, in Gaza and over 242, including 57 children , in the occupied West Bank since 7 October. The Israeli strikes have also injured over 36,000 Palestinians, mostly children, in Gaza, with 6,800 missing and believed to be buried under the rubble. In addition, more than 2,750 Palestinians are injured in Israeli raids in West Bank. 1,200 Israelis died in the attacks carried out by Hamas fighters on 7 October, with injuries to 5,600 people.

Gaza City Mayor Yahya al-Sarraj highlighted the extensive damage to the city’s infrastructure, including cultural centres, main libraries, and public squares. The municipality’s headquarters, a repository of historical documents, suffered significant destruction, compounding the loss of valuable heritage.

Thousands of people are now homeless, seeking refuge in schools, shelters, or with relatives. The living conditions in these makeshift arrangements are far from adequate. The destruction of water wells is another concern that limits essential resource availability.

Mayor al-Sarraj also raised concerns about the worsening humanitarian crisis in the region. He said that the Israeli forces continue to block the entry of fuel. Plus, the aid that manages to come in is not enough in quantity or quality.

One of the immediate consequences of the fuel shortage is the inability to operate generators, water pumps, and pump stations.

The lack of fuel affects essential services and the daily lives of Gaza’s residents. Power outages, coupled with the destruction of water wells, have created a shortage of clean water. Gaza Mayor al-Sarraj expressed concern about the potential for an environmental disaster around the corner.

The stormwater, mixed with wastewater, will cause a public health disaster if a flood is to occur.