Complications and angst persist during temporary Israel-Hamas war ceasefire

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Tom Jones WLS logo
Tuesday, November 28, 2023
Complications and angst persist During temporary Israel-Hamas war ceasefire
So far, 69 Hamas-held hostages have been released, along with 150 Palestinian prisoners previously jailed in Israel, since the temporary ceasefire started last Friday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- While many Hamas-held children and women hostages as well as dozens of Palestinian prisoners have been released Monday night, locals focused on the Israel-Hamas war say the negotiated deal for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza remains complicated.

So far, 69 Hamas-held hostages have been released, along with 150 Palestinian prisoners previously jailed in Israel, since the temporary ceasefire started last Friday, according to Israel's Prime Minister's office.

"It is a good step forward," said Israel's top official in Chicago, Consul General Yinam Cohen.

Cohen told the I-Team at this point, they are unaware of how many Hamas-held hostages are still alive after the October 7 terrorist attack ended with more than 200 people kidnapped.

"We're not fighting against the Palestinian people," Cohen told the I-Team on Monday. "What we're fighting is a terrorist, a vicious, cruel terrorist organization that declared war after October 7, that they will do it over and over again, if they can."

"This is, therefore, our moral obligation to make sure that they're unable to do that," Cohen said.

In Chicago, Jennifer Bing oversees Palestinian activism for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). The AFSC focuses on non-violent solutions across the globe.

Bing said she believes the actions taken by Israel after Oct. 7 was not a proportional type of response.

"I think that people have been pretty clear about being horrified about what happened on October 7," Bing said. "I definitely don't think a bombing campaign, and an invasion that would cause so much civilian loss of life. It's inexcusable for any government or entity to try to kill civilians."

More than 1,200 people were killed and 6,900 were injured in Israel since Oct. 7, according to the Israeli Prime Minister's office.

In Gaza, more than 14,000 people have been killed and 36,000 people injured since the war started, according to the latest figures released by the Gaza Health Ministry, run by Hamas.

"Diplomacy is always preferable over military action, for the best interests of all people," Bing said.

Cohen said Israel is focused on preventing another terrorist attack, like what happened on Oct. 7, from happening again.

"Proportionality is what we're trying to do in the sense that we have to make sure that the danger that has been posed against Israeli civilians does not exist anymore," Consul General Cohen said.

American officials confirmed Monday that the temporary ceasefire is being extended for two more days by Israel and Hamas.

Families of terrorist-held hostages now have renewed hopes that their loved ones may be set free in the coming 48 hour window, including the parents of Hersh Goldberg-Polin, who spoke with ABC News on Monday.

Jon Polin, who is a Chicago-area native, said he fears parts of the negotiated deal are not being honored, specifically allowing aid for the hostages in Hamas' custody.

"Humanitarian aid has not gotten to the hostages, to the best that we know," Polin said. "And it's part of the deal, we are told that the International Red Cross is supposed to be allowed into the hostages. That hasn't happened in the first three days of the deal. We are very hopeful and pushing for that to happen today."

While the families of hostages remain hopeful, there is no optimism that this pause in fighting will be anything other than temporary.

Israeli officials say that the war will resume at some point, because Hamas is still in place and, they say, needs to be finished off.