South of Gaza
Israel said the five-day ceasefire could be extended further, which would allow for more aid into the besieged enclave if more hostages were freed. Mahmud HAMS/AFP

This week, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez proposed the idea of an international peace conference on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to set out strategies that will facilitate a just and lasting peace for both Palestine and Israel.

While attending a meeting in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Sanchez noted that the proposal sets out to forge a viable Palestinian state.

After almost 50 days of conflict, the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza has reported that more than 14,800 Palestinian civilians have been killed by Israel's bombardment of the Strip – more than 5,000 of whom, are children.

Since Hamas launched its on-the-ground massacre against Israel, which resulted in around 1,200 people being killed and more than 240 Israeli civilians being kidnapped – including 39 children, both sides have agreed to a temporary "truce agreement".

The truce agreement will see 10 Israeli captives released by Hamas each day for five days. In return, Israel said that it has agreed to release 150 Palestinian prisoners who are currently being held in Israeli jails.

Israel said the five-day ceasefire could be extended further, which would allow for more aid into the besieged enclave if more hostages were freed.

A Palestinian source responded, claiming that as many as 100 Israeli hostages in total, could be released by the end of the month.

At a press conference held on Wednesday night, 22 November, Netanyahu said that the Red Cross will be given access to any remaining hostages in Gaza once the temporary truce comes to an end.

Speaking of the civilians desperate for humanitarian assistance in the Strip, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said: "Whatever humanitarian access now increases as a result of this hostage deal must remain in place and must be built upon."

While both Israel and Hamas declared that the "truce agreement" will not halt their desired outcomes of the conflict, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi recognised that a permanent ceasefire and solution should be organised while the fighting has relaxed.

While addressing his audience at the press conference on Wednesday night, Netanyahu responded to the mention of the agreement, saying: "We are winning, and we will continue to fight until a complete victory."

"As we announce the striking of a truce agreement, we affirm that our fingers remain on the trigger, and our victorious fighters will remain on the lookout to defend our people and defeat the occupation," Hamas also said.

"That has to be a plan with an endgame, with timelines, with a mechanism for implementation, with guarantees, and the whole world has to be behind it and the US will have to play a leading role," he said.

There have been fewer prospects towards reviving peace talks to create a two-state solution since the US-brokered strategy collapsed in 2014 and allowed the proscribed terrorist group, Hamas, to continue to govern Gaza while calling for the destruction of Israel.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbaa also met with Sanchez, in the city of Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank before moving on to Egypt.

After speaking to right-wing Prime Minister Netanyahu, Sanchez noted: "Today, more than ever, we need to bring back a serious and credible prospect for peace."

Remaining hopeful towards a possible two-state solution, he added: "Without a political settlement, we are bound to run again into a never-ending cycle of violence."

Although he voted against the call for an immediate ceasefire in both Gaza and Israel, Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer is also under the impression that a two-state solution can still be achieved.

There is a hope that "still burns brightly for those who want peace. The two-state solution", he said.

"An Israel where every citizen enjoys the security they need and a viable Palestinian state, where the Palestinian people and their children enjoy the freedoms and opportunities that we all take for granted," Starmer concluded.