Local Palestinian and Jewish communities weigh in on humanitarian pause, demand release of all hostages

Jacksonville locals are weighing in on the humanitarian pause expected to take place in the Israel-Hamas war that was expected to take place Thursday morning.

Israel’s national security adviser said late Wednesday that cease-fire talks with the Hamas militant group were still ongoing, and the hostage release will not take place before Friday.

The two sides are supposed to stop fighting for four days so hostages and prisoners can be released. This temporary ceasefire will also allow for humanitarian aid to Gaza.

“I think that it’s not the solution we want to see. We want to see a permanent ceasefire,” Sarah Mahmoud, co-founder of the Jacksonville Palestine Solidarity Network said.

While people on both sides say it’s about time some action happened, they said they wish the war would just stop.

“There is great anticipation and great hope mixed with concern and hesitations,” Mariam Feist, CEO of the Jewish Federation and Foundation of Northeast Florida said.

Both Mahmoud and Feist have mixed emotions about the humanitarian pause.

RELATED | Humanitarians want more aid for Gaza, access to hostages under Israel-Hamas truce. And more time

This deal, brokered between Israel, Hamas, the U.S. and Qatar is supposed to put a hold on fighting that’s been happening since early October.

The deal calls for:

50 women and children to be released by Hamas150 Palestinian prisoners released from Israeli jailsAllow for more aid and fuel to reach GazaFighting stops for four daysThe Israeli government says for every additional 10 hostages released—there could be an additional day of a pause

“The hostages should have just been released. There should have been a worldwide pressure to release those hostages,” Feist said.

Feist said although a deal like this is helpful — it shouldn’t have taken this long to get here. She also said innocent people have been away from their families for too long.

MORE | Israel and Hamas have reached a deal on a cease-fire and hostages. What does it look like?

“All of us especially those of us who are Palestinian with family in Gaza or in the West Bank it’s like a little gasp of relief,” Mahmoud said.

Mahmoud and others with JPSN have been rallying in Jacksonville for over a month, calling for the war to stop.

Mahmoud said although this brief pause will bring relief, she and others in her group say they don’t think this will solve much.

“It’s still not meeting the minimum humanitarian requirements this is like putting a band-aid on like something that needs amputation. Like it’s not enough,” Mahmoud said.

Mahmoud says she hopes that the world sees this humanitarian pause and starts calling and pressuring for a ceasefire.

Feist said she is concerned that during the release people who aren’t innocent and could be considered terrorists will get free.

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