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After Israel-Hamas deal, families of Palestinian detainees await prisoner swap

Iqbal (R), daughter of imprisoned Palestinian prisoner Suhair B. accompanied by one of her relatives.   -  
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Cleared / AFP

West Bank

In Kobar village north of Ramallah, in the Westbank, a Palestinian family awaits news of a loved one detained in Israeli prisons.

Israel and Hamas announced a deal on Wednesday (Nov.22) which provides a four-day truce and allows the exchange of at least 50 Israeli hostages for 150 Palestinian prisoners.

"Every human being has feelings, and loves to have his children and his wife (with him)", says Muhammad whose wife is detained.

"We are steadfast, but in comparison with the big event that is happening in Gaza, the famine, the destruction and the steadfastness that exists in Gaza. When we think of and the images of children being brought out from under the rubble what can we say?"

On October 7th, Hamas militants stormed across the Gaza border in the deadliest attack in Israel’s history, killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapping 239 others, according to Israeli officials.

Israel published on Wednesday (Nov. 22) the names of 300 Palestinians who could be freed -- nearly half of them teenagers. The deal was facilitated by Qatar, Egypt and the USA and could be enforced starting Friday (Nov. 24).

It is also intended to allow the delivery of desperately needed food, medicines and fuel to the 2.4 million civilians trapped in Gaza in increasingly dire conditions.

In another house, it is the same anguish wait for Iqbal, her mother has been imprisoned in an Israeli prison.

"We had hoped that she (Suhair) would be part of the deal, meaning that she would be in the first batch, but we received news that her name was not included in the first list, and that they were talking about several groups. We hope from God that her name would be in the deal."

If successful, a second phase could see 150 more Palestinian prisoners freed in exchange for another 50 hostages during an extended truce, the Israeli government said.

Citing figures by the Israel Prison Service (IPS), Israeli human rights group B'Tselem reported that at the end of September this year, the IPS held 4,764 Palestinians in detention or in prison.

1,310 jailed without charged or trial. 

According to AFP, of those on the list, 49 are identified as Hamas members, 60 as belonging to Fatah, the party which leads the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank, and 17 as being affiliated with the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

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