Family members and friends of Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza begin a 5-day march from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, November 14, 2023 (Amit Elkayam/New York Times)
Early Wednesday, Israel’s forces began their assault on the grounds of the al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.
Hours earlier, I spoke with France 24 English about the effect of the Israeli ground offensive and intensive bombing on about 240 Israeli and foreign nationals held by Hamas.
Amid chatter over negotiations to free 50 to 70 hostages — in return for the release of women and children from Israeli detention — I welcomed channels remaining open. However, I spoke of the barrier to the deal from Israel’s ongoing assault.
You cannot release hostages in an active war zone.
If Israel continues to bomb and attack on the ground, there is no space to complete a deal and then get the hostages to a safe area.
But if there is a humanitarian pause of 3 to 5 days, that provides the time to move them.