The government is debating a partial hostage deal that could include a pause in the Gaza war in exchange for a release of up to 80 out of over 239 people seized by terrorists during Hamas’s infiltration of southern Israel on October 7.
“I hope there will be good news soon.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said hours before the meeting as he met on Tuesday with soldiers of the 8101 Reserve Battalion.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said in a “truce agreement” was close in a statement sent to Reuters by his aide.
The deal was debated first by the war cabinet and then by the security cabinet, before it headed to the government.
The deal, mediated by Qatar, would create the first long-term pause in the fighting since Israel embarked on its military campaign to oust Hamas from Gaza. It comes amid increased international pressure for a ceasefire.
Under the broad contours of the deal, 50 hostages would be released, within the first four days in exchange for a pause in the fighting during those 96 hours.
Some 40 children and 13 mothers are held hostage. It’s expected that some, but not all, would be part of that first batch of hostages.
The 50 hostages would be freed in smaller groups during those days and not all at once.
Israel would in exchange release some 150 Palestinian women and minors held in its jails on security related offenses, but none of them would those directly involved in terror attacks with fatalities.
There is a possibility for the release of an additional 30 hostages held in Gaza should the pause in the fighting be extended for up to another four days.
All those slated for release are alive and have Israeli citizenship.
Hamas could release Thai citizens
Separately Hamas may unilaterally free those among the hostages who have Thai citizenship. It’s also possible that other governments may work out other deals for their citizens held in Gaza.
As part of the deal fuel can enter Gaza during the pause in the fighting. Israel has objected to the entry of fuel to the enclave out of fear that Hamas would
There will be a six-hour window each day during which IDF aerial surveillance of Gaza will be halted.
“There are other intelligence-gathering capabilities. We will not be blind in those 6 hours when there are no drones and balloons in the air,” the official said.
Those Palestinians who fled northern Gaza for the south during the last weeks of fighting would not be allowed to return home during the pause, given that the IDF is expected to resume its military campaign once the pause is ended.
The IDF, the Mossad, and the Shin Bet are in favor of the broad outline of the deal.