On Tuesday, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office announced that Benjamin Netanyahu will be convening the War Cabinet, Security Cabinet, and Government to discuss a US-brokered ceasefire deal with Hamas in exchange for the release of hostages that were taken from Israel on October 7.
The deal could see 50 women and children released from the Gaza Strip in exchange for a four to five-day ceasefire and the release of three Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons for every hostage released, sources familiar with the negotiations told CNN. The prisoners are expected to be women and adolescents.
Two Israeli sources told the outlet that the deal could be announced as soon as Tuesday. US officials said that while deal is not done, they are optimistic that the weeks of work as about to pay off.
"It’s very close," a senior US official said.
One person familiar with the talks said that during the pause in fighting, Israel would stop flying surveillance drones over Gaza for at least six hours per day.The agreement was arranged during meetings in Doha, Qatar with Israel, the US, and Hamas present, represented by Qatari mediators—though some of the Hamas leadership lives in Qatar.
The hostages were taken by Hamas during a surprise attack against Israel on October 7. The terrorists' plan was to kill as many people as possible and to take hostages. They killed 1,200 people and took 240 hostages.
As part of the agreement, Hamas would gather up additional women and children hostages during the ceasefire, which the group has claimed it cannot do until a longer ceasefire was in place.
Hamas has also demanded trucks of aid, including fuel, as part of the negotiations, with the fuel being used to run military operations and ventilate the network of underground tunnels in Gaza.The US has not pressed Israel to stop their attacks on Hamas, though more than 100 other nations have done so. Israeli officials said that only after "a massive release of our hostages" would a ceasefire be able to commence, per the Washington Post.
After that ceasefire and the release of hostages, Israel intends to continue its war on Hamas and intends to destroy that terror group to prevent it from being able to attack Israel again.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was committed to continuing the offensive, but that "humanitarian aid is essential."
"For international support to continue, humanitarian aid is essential," he said. "Because of that, we accepted the recommendation to bring fuel into Gaza."
The White House National Security Council’s top Middle East official Brett McGurk said that if Hamas releases a "large number" of hostages, that "would result in a significant pause in fighting and a massive surge of humanitarian relief. Hundreds and hundreds of trucks on a sustained basis entering Gaza from Egypt."
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi balked at that, saying that Israel was holding the Palestinians "hostage" in Gaza. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and the region has been under its own rule since then. Israel tightly controls its borders with Gaza.
Mark Regev, a senior Netanyahu advisor, said that if a hostage deal is agreed upon, the release could be approved by the Israeli government "very quickly," according to the Daily Mail.
"If an arrangement is made for the release of our hostages... it requires a decision by the Israeli government and that I think can be done very quickly... I think we are talking about hours," he told BBC Radio 4's the World at One program.
"It's possible that it's close, but it's not done until it's done... a deal is indeed possible but we can't yet say it's a done deal yet... I hope we will see the release of our people shortly... but I am still not 100 percent sure."
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