JERUSALEM, Israel – Monday marks the fourth day of the ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, and the ongoing release of hostages kidnapped by Hamas on October 7th. Israeli sources now report the ceasefire may be extended much longer to release more hostages.
For the past three days, heartwarming scenes have played out in Israel as families are being reunited for the first time after weeks of captivity, having been kidnapped by Hamas. Fourteen Israelis were released on Sunday, including four-year-old Avigail Edan, an Israeli-American. Hamas killed her parents in front of her during the massacre on October 7th.
"I just spoke with President (Joe) Biden with great excitement, of course, also about the little girl, Abigail. What a joy to see her with us. But, on the other hand, what a pity that she returns to the reality of not having parents. She has no parents – but she has a whole nation that embraces her, and we will take care of all her needs,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
President Joe Biden took a direct interest in Avigail. “Through intensive U.S. diplomacy, she's now safely in Israel, and we continue to press and expect for additional Americans will be released as well. And we will not stop working until every hostage is returned to their loved ones,” said Biden.
So far, 40 Israelis have been freed, with more expected on Monday for a total of fifty Israelis. In Jerusalem and the West Bank, Palestinians celebrated the return of dozens of prisoners. Many of them have committed attempted murder, stabbings, shootings, and have thrown Molotov cocktails. One woman called for more kidnappings so more prisoners could be freed.
It’s likely more Palestinian prisoners and Israeli hostages will be released. Israel’s war cabinet is deciding whether or not to extend the ceasefire for ten days with ten hostages released for each day. This may prolong Israel’s military campaign for up to two weeks.
“I think every day that goes on with the ceasefire, it’s going to be harder for them to restart the war machine, and that is exactly what Hamas intends,” CBN News Correspondent Chuck Holton explained. “They understand that the longer this ceasefire goes on, the more pressure will build on Israel to continue that ceasefire indefinitely, and if they continue it indefinitely, Hamas does not get wiped out, and Hamas survives. That’s their strategy here, I believe.”
Despite the delay, Benjamin Netanyahu visited IDF troops in Gaza and pledged total victory.
“We are here in the (Gaza) Strip with our heroic fighters,” Netanyahu said. “We are making every effort to return our hostages, and at the end of the day, we will return everyone. We have three goals in this war: eliminate Hamas, return all of our hostages, and ensure that Gaza does not return to be a threat to the State of Israel again.”