War Day 204: Hostage Deal Being Considered, ICC to Indict Israeli Government

War Summary, Day Two Hundred and Four: Hamas releases hostage video, hostage release deal being strongly considered, International Criminal Court preparing to indict Netanyahu and others, and a terror attack in Ramle.

By Mrs. Bruria Efune

133 held captive in Gaza.
112 hostages freed.
12 hostage bodies rescued.
37 hostages confirmed murdered in Gaza.
1,492 Israelis murdered.
261 fallen soldiers in the battle in Gaza.
7 fallen soldiers in Northern Israel.
4 fallen soldiers in Judea & Samaria.
11,600+ injured.
13,540 estimated rockets fired at Israel.
102,100 Israelis displaced from their homes.
1 Jewish nation united in prayer, charity, and good deeds.

Top Headlines:

  • Hamas releases another cruel hostage video
  • Hostage release deal being strongly considered
  • ICC preparing to indict Netanyahu and others
  • Terror attack in Ramle

Hostage Updates:

Hamas released another cruel propaganda video, with two hostages repeating the same script as in the other videos–that the bombing needs to stop, and Israel needs to agree to Hamas conditions to get them released.

In the video are Keith Siegel, 64, from Kfar Aza, and Omri Miran, 46, from Kibbutz Nachal Oz. The video appears to have been made recently, as Keith talks about Pesach (Passover), and Omri mentions that he’s been held hostage for 202 days. Keith is a dual Israeli-U.S. citizen.

The IDF asks that people do not share or spread Hamas propaganda.

A massive rally was held in Tel Aviv today, calling for the release of the hostages. Israelis are divided on at what costs to accept a deal. During the rally, Nadav Miran, the brother of Omri, was interviewed on Kan news. Asked about the video, he said it did not interest him—it was clearly scripted, and not how his brother talks. He doesn’t want to see him on screen but wants to see him face-to-face and hug him. Asked if a deal should be made to release the hostages, he said yes—but not at all costs, and he knows his brother would not approve the option on the table now. Nadav stressed rear a deal must free all 133 hostages, and all at once. And Israel must continue to defeat Hamas so that there is no repeat of October 7th—the deals cannot be a reward to Hamas. He emphasized, “the IDF must enter Rafah yesterday!”

The current deal being discussed is an Egyptian proposal that will release around 33 female, ill, and elderly hostages in exchange for a significant amount of terrorists, a return to Northern Gaza, and a temporary ceasefire of one day per hostage. Since Hamas is now desperate to avoid an IDF entry to Rafah, it appears as though they are seriously considering the deal, and might accept it.

According to some reports, Defense Minister Gallant, War Cabinet Ministers Eizenkot and Gantz, and Chief of Staff Halevi, Shin Bet, and Mossad are in support of the deal, since it will free the hostages who are in the worst situation. Netanyahu appears not to be, and most of his government coalition is vehemently against it, as it will delay a Rafah entry, give an upper hand to Hamas, and reward terrorism. Many in the IDF are growing frustrated, hoping that the Rafah entry isn’t delayed again, unless there is a serious immediate release of hostages.

The US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, is expected to arrive in Israel within the next few days to push for the deal, as well as “finding a path that will lead to an independent Palestinian state with security guarantees for Israel.”

Adding to the pressure to hold back the Rafah invasion and accept a deal, is the ICC. Israel’s Channel 14 reported that the Israeli government received word that top Israeli government officials will soon receive indictments for “crimes against humanity” from the ICC—including Netanyahu, Gallant, and Halevi, as well as others.

Israel is not a member state of the ICC, but all court members are under obligation to hand over individuals with warrants against them if they enter their territory. Almost all major countries are members of the ICC, other than the United States, China, India, and a few Arab states. Israel would be the first western country to receive indictments from the ICC.

Gaza Front Updates:

Hamas has not successfully fired rockets at Israeli civilians since Wednesday, though attempts were made.

Thank G-d, the IDF did not announce any fallen soldiers.

Over the last two days, dozens of airstrikes were carried out against terror targets in Gaza, including several in Rafah, and on active terrorists in Khan Younis. Pinpoint operations are underway in Northern and Central Gaza, but the IDF has not released information about them.

Reservists are beginning to gather on the Gaza border, ahead of a planned Rafah entry, and many more are were told to report immediately after Pesach.

Thomas Friedman reported in The New York Times that if Israel does launch a major operation in Rafah despite the American administration’s opposition, President Biden will consider limiting the sale of certain weapons to Israel.

Gaza Humanitarian Efforts Updates:

At the UN’s request, no aid was transferred over Shabbat, in order to allow the UN agencies time to catch up and deliver aid that is gathering on their side of the border. On Thursday COGAT reported:

344 aid trucks were inspected and transferred to the Gaza strip.
The content of 300 aid trucks are waiting on the Gazan side of Kerem Shalom to be collected by UN aid agencies.
199 pallets containing tens of thousands of packages of food aid were airdropped over northern Gaza
100 food aid trucks were coordinated to northern Gaza
4 tankers of cooking gas and 2 tankers of fuel designated for the operation of essential infrastructure in Gaza, entered Gaza.
An additional 10 water pumping facilities were fueled in Northern Gaza, following coordination. These facilities serve about 190,000 residents in the Jabalia area.

The Israeli military and Defense Ministry have made progress on a US-led project to bring aid into Gaza through a floating pier. They’ve built a dedicated area on the central Gaza coast for receiving aid under the Joint Logistics Over The Shore project (JLOTS). The site is 0.27 square kilometers and features a remote-controlled hydraulic gate system for flexibility. The Israeli Navy is securing the pier, and a reservist brigade provides additional on-ground security.

A ship carrying humanitarian aid left the port of Larnaca in Cyprus for the Gaza Strip, carrying food donated by the United Arab Emirates. This is happening for the first time since seven workers of the World Central Kitchen (WCK) were killed in an unintended airstrike in the Gaza Strip, which resulted in the halting of maritime aid shipments to Gaza from Cyprus.

Northern Front Updates:

Hezbollah continued to fire heavily on Israeli communities in the far north, including a barrage of 26 rockets at Mount Meron, which they claimed targeted and IDF base on the mountain, but instead hit right near a civilian community, and a barrage of 30 at Mount Hermon. No injuries were reported.

The IDF carried out airstrikes against Hezbollah targets in Southern Lebanon, including on buildings where Hezbollah terrorists were known to be inside, and shelled Hezbollah positions along the border.

In a targeted airstrike on a moving vehicle, the airfare eliminated a commander from the al-Jama’a al-Islamiyya terror group, who had been coordinating attacks in Israel together with Hamas’s Lebanon branch.

A report in the Wall Street Journal quoted a senior official in the IDF who claimed that it is not possible to avoid a significant and widespread confrontation with Hezbollah in Lebanon, after almost seven months of cross-border war. The official is quoted saying “Israel cannot stop now, it would be dangerous for the whole region.”

Houthi War Front Updates

The US Army’s Central Command reported that the Houthis launched three anti-ship ballistic missiles at the MAISHA oil tanker sailing in the Red Sea. According to the US Army’s announcement, the tanker reported minor damage, and said there were no casualties.

Judea and Samaria and Ramle Updates:

On Friday, a terrorist stabbed and seriously injured an 18-year-old girl in Ramle, Central Israel. The terrorist was shot dead by an armed civilian.

On Friday night, two Palestinian gunmen approached the Salem checkpoint in the Shomron, and opened fire on troops. However, troops from a combat intelligence unit were ready, waiting in ambush, and eliminated the two terrorists before anyone could be hurt. Their assault riffles were confiscated.

Overnight, the IDF carried out counterterrorism raids in suburbs of Hebron, Shechem (Nablus), Jenin, and Tulkarm.

General Updates:

The Association of University Heads in Israel published an open letter condemning the antisemitic protests and violence in American universities. At the end of the letter they invited students and scientists to transfer to Israel: “We wish to strengthen Jewish and Israeli students and faculty members in these hard times. We will assist Jewish and Israeli scientists and students who are interested in integrating into Israeli universities and finding a new personal and academic home here in Israel.”

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