Peace deal is ‘only way to end violence’
Qatari mediators were trying to negotiate a deal between Hamas and the Israeli Defense Forces that would allow for 50 civilian hostages from Gaza to be exchanged for a three-day ceasefire.
Approximately 1,200 people were killed in the Hamas attacks on 7 October. Among them was a Canadian-Israeli peace activist, Vivian Silver (74), who was killed at her home in Be’eri. Before her death, she told friends and family she was hiding behind a cupboard in her safe room.
Speaking to Haaretz, the Israeli newspaper, her son, Yonatan Zeigen, recounted their last call, which took place in the midst of persistent gunshots.
“First we spoke by phone, but then when we heard the gunshots getting closer, we decided it was best to move to text messaging,” he told Haaretz.
In his last message to his mother, Zeigen said he wrote “I’m with you”, to which she responded “I feel you”. Little did the family know that it would be the last time they heard from her.
Zeigen described her as a resilient person, deeply committed to peace.
To attest to this, it was reported that a few days before her death, she participated in an annual march that Women Wage Peace holds during the Sukkot holiday.
In an interview with Haaretz six years ago, after yet another round of fighting between Israel and Gaza, she stressed the importance of a peace agreement between the two territories.
She was quoted as saying: “With what’s happening now, I think our message is more timely than ever. The only way to bring all this violence to an end is by negotiating a peace agreement. This ceasefire may last a few weeks or a few months, but until the two sides sit down and talk, it’s not going to be over.”
Silver was initially believed to be among those taken hostage by Hamas. However, it has since been confirmed that she died during Hamas’s initial attacks.
Negotiations are reportedly under way for the release of some hostages in Gaza. On 15 November, Qatari mediators were trying to negotiate a deal between Hamas and the Israeli Defense Forces that would allow for 50 civilian hostages from Gaza to be exchanged for a three-day ceasefire, according to Reuters.
Another potential outcome of the deal would be the release of some Palestinian women and children from Israeli jails and an increase in the humanitarian aid allowed into Gaza. DM
This story first appeared in our weekly DM168 newspaper, available countrywide for R29.