November 27, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel and Hamas Agree to Two-Day Extension of Pause in Fighting

November 27, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel and Hamas Agree to Two-Day Extension of Pause in Fighting

Latest Developments

Israel and the Iran-backed terrorist group Hamas agreed on November 27 to a two-day extension of the four-day pause in fighting begun on November 24, which otherwise would have lapsed that day. Hamas has agreed to free 20 Israeli civilian hostages during the extension, while Israel will release 60 Palestinian prisoners.

The announcement came shortly before Hamas, following a lengthy delay, released the last group of 11 hostages under the original four-day pause agreement. According to Israeli media reports, Israel claimed Hamas was violating the agreement by breaking up families — releasing children but without their mothers. On November 25, the second day of the deal, Hamas released 13-year-old Hila Rotem but did not release her mother, Raya Rotem.

Expert Analysis

“In exchange for Israeli women and children, Israel has agreed to a pause in fighting that will inevitably help Hamas. Hamas fighters are using the time and the gift of additional resources — including fuel and other supplies — to regroup. Israelis understand that IDF soldiers in combat may pay the price for this pause, but the intense relief of seeing the women and children come home outweighs any other consideration for the Jewish state.” — Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

“The fact that only one American citizen has been freed during the original agreement hardly comes as a surprise. Hamas is intentionally holding its most valuable assets — Americans and Israeli soldiers — for a future hostages-for-prisoners swap that will favor Hamas significantly.” Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

“Releasing Palestinian prisoners boosts Hamas’s standing among Palestinians, inspires more terrorism by offering attackers the possibility of release, and encourages more hostage-taking. This was how former prisoner Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’s leader in Gaza, was able to help mastermind the October 7 attack.” — David May, FDD Research Manager and Senior Research Analyst

Original Agreement Included Extension Provisions

The original pause agreed to on November 23 entailed the release of a total of 50 Israeli women and children hostages for 150 Palestinian prisoners — women and those younger than 18 — held in Israeli jails. The deal included extension provisions that would see Hamas free 10 hostages for each additional day of a pause, while Israel would release 30 Palestinian prisoners a day. Israel would also allow hundreds of humanitarian aid trucks with supplies and fuel to enter the Gaza Strip.

Hamas Causes Delays

On November 24 — the first day of the pause in fighting — Hamas released 13 Israeli hostages, 10 Thai hostages, and one Filipino hostage. On November 25, Hamas released 13 Israeli hostages and four Thai hostages. On November 26, Hamas released 14 Israeli hostages and at least three foreign nationals. The group included American national Abigail Idan, who had turned four years of age while in captivity. Idan was kidnapped during Hamas’s surprise attack against Israel on October 7, in which the terrorist group killed Idan’s mother and father.

The original four-day deal nearly fell apart on November 25 when Hamas delayed releasing its hostages for hours. Hamas later relented after pressure from Qatar, Egypt, Israel, and the United States.

Americans Still Held Hostage

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said during a press briefing on November 27 that the United States believes that Hamas is still holding about eight or nine American hostages, including two women.

Hamas Releases Russian Hostage ‘In Appreciation’ of Moscow,” FDD Flash Brief

Hamas Releases Some Hostages, Roughly 200 Remain Unaccounted For,” FDD Flash Brief

Hamas Continues to Deny Red Cross Access to Hostages, Proof of Life,” FDD Flash Brief


Israel Israel at War Palestinian Politics