Ongoing Conflict in Gaza: No Israel-Hamas Ceasefire Deal Yet, Hostages Remain in Limbo

Israeli soldiers operate in the Gaza Strip, amid the ongoing ground operation of the Israeli army against the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in this handout picture released on November 18, 2023. Israel Defense Forces/Handout via REUTERS

In the midst of the escalating conflict in the Gaza Strip, a potential ceasefire between Israel and Hamas remains elusive. According to a White House spokesperson, despite intensive diplomatic efforts, no agreement has been reached to pause the fighting and secure the release of hostages.

The situation remains tense as reports of a possible deal circulated earlier, suggesting a temporary truce brokered by Qatar. However, these reports were promptly clarified by Adrienne Watson, spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council. “No deal yet but we continue to work hard to get a deal,” Watson stated, reflecting the ongoing diplomatic efforts to mitigate the conflict.

Family and supporters of the nearly 240 hostages held for more than a month by Hamas and other Palestinian militants in Gaza complete the final leg of a 5-day solidarity rally, which marched from Tel Aviv to the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem, calling for their return. (Leo Correa/The Associated Press)

The conflict, now entering its seventh week, has seen significant casualties and destruction. Israel has vowed a relentless campaign against Hamas following a surprise attack on October 7, where Hamas militants killed 1,200 Israelis and took 240 hostages. These hostages range from infants to the elderly, including foreign nationals, heightening the international community’s concern.

In retaliation, Israeli forces have conducted extensive military operations in the Gaza Strip. The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza reports the death toll in the territory has soared to over 12,300, including an estimated 5,000 children. The United Nations has found these figures credible, though updates are becoming less frequent due to the ongoing war and communication challenges.

Compounding the humanitarian crisis, nearly 240 people are believed to be held hostage in Gaza, leading to a large demonstration in Jerusalem. Families of the hostages, supported by thousands of sympathizers, marched to the Israeli capital, demanding action from the government. The procession, which grew to an estimated 20,000 participants, highlights the growing public outcry over the plight of those captured.

Israel’s military is showing off guns and other military gear that it says belonged to Hamas and was found inside the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza. So far there has been no public evidence of an alleged Hamas headquarters beneath the hospital.

On the military front, Israel is preparing to extend its offensive to southern Gaza, following deadly airstrikes in residential areas and at two schools sheltering civilians. These strikes have already resulted in significant civilian casualties, raising international alarm and calls for a ceasefire.

The situation at Gaza’s largest hospital, Al-Shifa, has become particularly dire. Israeli forces, claiming the hospital harbors a Hamas command center, have taken over the facility, leading to the evacuation of most patients and staff. This move has sparked additional controversy and concern for the safety of those needing medical care.

The Canadian government, along with international counterparts, has expressed deep concern over the escalating violence and the humanitarian impact on Gaza’s civilian population. Calls for a ceasefire and protection of civilians have intensified as the conflict shows no signs of abating.


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