On Tuesday, Hamas released 13 Israeli hostages and 11 other prisoners as part of an agreement reached between Israel and Hamas on August 9. The release of the prisoners, which are part of a staged exchange, is seen as a sign that the cease-fire between the two sides is holding.
Under the agreement, Israel will also release 550 Palestinian prisoners in two stages. Most of those released Tuesday were Palestinian suspects of security-related offenses that Israel might have been unwilling to free in any other context. In the second stage, which is expected to take place in several weeks, Israel will reportedly free more militant prisoners, including those responsible for planning or carrying out attacks against Israeli targets and individuals.
The prisoner exchange has been met with mixed reactions from both sides, and marks a major diplomatic breakthrough after a decade of hostility between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Some in Israel have criticized the deal, arguing that it could encourage further attacks on their country.
However, others have seen the deal as a step in the right direction and a possible stepping stone to further peace negotiations between the two sides. Moving forward, it will be important for both Hamas and Israel to honor the commitments made in the agreement and work together to ensure that no further violence takes place.