Israel-Hamas hostage deal an ‘important step’: Wong

November 22, 2023 by AAP
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Foreign Minister Penny Wong has welcomed a deal on Israeli hostages as a necessary step towards peace in the Middle East, as Australia receives an increasing number of Israeli and Palestinian visa applications.

Penny Wong

Israel’s government and Hamas, considered a terrorist organisation by the Australian government, have agreed to a four-day pause in fighting to allow the release of 50 hostages held in Gaza in exchange for 150 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel.

The deal also allows entry of humanitarian aid into the besieged territory.

Senator Wong said the move would help progress towards a sustainable ceasefire that was not “one-sided”.

“This is an important and necessary step, but what we must ultimately work towards is a long-term enduring peace,” she told reporters in Adelaide on Wednesday.

“A long-term enduring peace requires a two-state solution, with Israelis and Palestinians living securely and prosperously within internationally recognised borders.”

Australia has been working with other nations to help support and protect civilians in an effort to prevent the violence from spreading, Senator Wong said.

Hamas is believed to be holding more than 200 hostages, taken when its fighters surged into Israel on October 7, killing 1200 people according to Israeli tallies.

Israel has since launched a continuous bombing campaign on the densely populated area and implemented a total blockade on food, fuel, water and medical supplies, only allowing a small number of aid trucks through.

As a result, more than 13,300 civilians have been killed in Palestine and about two-thirds of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been left homeless, according to authorities in Gaza.

A statement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said 50 women and children would be released over four days, during which there will be a pause in fighting.

For every additional 10 hostages released, the pause would be extended by another day, it said, without mentioning the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange.

Israel had committed not to attack or arrest anyone in all parts of Gaza during the truce period, it added.

The accord is the first truce since October 7, but Mr Netanyahu has said Israel would continue the war until it had achieved all of its goals, which includes “destroying Hamas”.

Hamas has, to date, released four captives.

With Reuters


3 Responses to “Israel-Hamas hostage deal an ‘important step’: Wong”
  1. vbmedia2 says:

    I believe The minister should resist expressing her views
    She routinely trips over herself which reflects against Israel’s
    interests. It is obvious out opponents seek comfort and support
    from anything but unequivocal condemnation
    Equivocal comments costs lives

  2. Naomi Be says:

    This woman is so far from reality, and so ignorant it actually hurts listening to a single word she utters!

    • Adrian Jackson says:

      Ms. Be, Sen Wong is a great Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs.

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