Israeli Prime Minister announces agreement to deliver medicine to hostages in Gaza

In a significant development, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced a new agreement that will enable the delivery of crucial medicines to Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. The agreement comes after the families of some hostages who visited Qatar conveyed the urgent need for prescription medication to mediators, as reported by CBS News.

The deliveries have not yet commenced, and the exact mode of transportation for the medicine remains unclear. It is estimated that there are approximately 105 hostages still alive in Gaza, out of the 240 individuals taken prisoner during Hamas’s attacks in October. However, 105 hostages were released by Hamas during a six-day ceasefire in November, while at least 25 are believed to have lost their lives.

Both Hamas and Israel have expressed willingness to facilitate the transportation of medicine to the hostages, according to diplomatic sources cited by CBS News, which is the BBC’s international partner. Mediators are currently collaborating with the two sides and international NGOs to ascertain the specific medications needed, the required quantities, and the logistics of delivery.

The Israeli prime minister’s office issued a statement on Friday confirming that the medicines would be delivered in the coming days. The statement further revealed that the agreement was brokered after David Barnea, director of Israel’s national intelligence agency Mossad, reached out to Qatar for assistance.

A Palestinian official informed the BBC that discussions had taken place regarding the provision of medical aid into Gaza, with a particular focus on addressing the healthcare needs of the Israeli hostages. The Hostages Families HQ group had previously sent a letter to the Israeli war cabinet after the ceasefire concluded last year, indicating that they possessed reliable intelligence about the deteriorating health conditions and immediate danger faced by certain abductees. The group emphasized that a significant proportion of the hostages suffered from underlying illnesses and required regular medical treatment, further stressing the criticality of not depriving them of the necessary healthcare.

Since the violent attacks on October 7, the Gaza strip has witnessed a staggering loss of life, with over 23,350 casualties, predominantly children and women, due to Israel’s retaliatory military actions as reported by the Hamas-run health ministry. Israel, on the other hand, claims that approximately 1,300 people, mainly civilians, lost their lives in the Hamas attack.

This new agreement signifies a glimmer of hope for the hostages and their families, as it intends to address their urgent medical needs. It also highlights the importance of humanitarian efforts to prioritize the well-being and healthcare of individuals trapped in conflict zones. While the agreement holds promise, caution must be exercised during the implementation phase to ensure the smooth and timely delivery of the required medicines to the hostages in Gaza, in order to prevent any further deterioration in their health conditions.