Ismail Haniyeh, the most senior political leader of Hamas, has stated that a truce agreement with Israel may be close at hand. This has raised expectations that the Israeli attack in Gaza will be halted, and that at least some of the Israeli captives that the militant organization is holding there will be released.
According to Haniyeh, “We are close to reaching a deal on a truce,” and the group has already given its response to the mediators from Qatar.
Majed Al-Ansari, a spokesperson for the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was quoted by the Times of Israel on Tuesday as saying, “We are at the closest point we have ever been in reaching an agreement.” According to a source who briefed Reuters, the agreement would involve a break in hostilities that would last for several days, the release of approximately fifty civilian hostages held by Hamas, and the release of Palestinian women and children who are now being held in Israeli government custody.
In recent days, senior officials from the United States and Israel, as well as the prime minister of Qatar, have all indicated that an agreement is close at hand. However, commentators have cautioned that public remarks made during such negotiations are frequently misleading, and that any prospective deal might simply fall through.
Additionally, analysts point out that any agreement reached by the political leadership of Hamas overseas would need to be acceptable to the political and military authorities in Gaza in order to be considered acceptable.
Izzat el Reshiq, another senior political leader of Hamas, stated to Al Jazeera that ongoing discussions are aimed at establishing a ceasefire that would continue for “a number of days.” This ceasefire would entail the establishment of provisions for the admission of aid into Gaza, as well as the exchange of hostages held by Hamas for inmates already detained by Israel. Reshiq, who is headquartered in Qatar like Haniyeh, stated that the arrangement would include the release of Palestinian women and children from “occupation prisons” in exchange for the release of Israeli women and children from Gaza.
They were taken captive on October 7th, when Hamas launched attacks into Israel that resulted in the deaths of over 1,200 people, the majority of whom were civilians, either in their homes or at a dance party. Negotiators have been attempting to reach a compromise that will allow the release of over 240 hostages, the most of whom are Israeli. Qatar, which is home to a political office for Hamas, has been acting as a mediator.
On Monday, Vice President Joe Biden of the United States stated that he felt a solution to rescue the hostages was just around the corner. “I believe so,” Biden stated in response to a question about whether or not a hostage settlement was imminent, and he then crossed his fingers.
The White House stated that the negotiations were having reached the “endgame” stage, but they declined to provide any additional specifics, citing the fact that doing so could put a good ending in jeopardy.
“Sensitive negotiations like this can fall apart at the last minute,” Jon Finer, the deputy national security adviser for the White House, said on the Meet the Press show that NBC broadcast on Sunday. If everything is not agreed upon, then nothing can be agreed upon.
Agence France-Presse was informed by two sources who were aware with the most recent negotiations that a potential agreement might include a five-day ceasefire. This ceasefire would involve a ceasefire on the ground as well as restrictions on Israeli air operations over southern Gaza.
The release of between fifty and one hundred prisoners who are currently being detained by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which is a breakaway Palestinian militant group, would be received in exchange. Israeli civilians and hostages of other nationalities would be included in this group; however, military people would not be included.
It was reported by the sources that the proposed agreement would result in the release of three hundred Palestinians from Israeli prisons, including women and children. It would be a big propaganda success for Hamas, as well as a personal victory for Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza. Sinwar was imprisoned by the Israeli government for 22 years before being freed in exchange in 2011.
Benjamin Netanyahu, PM of Israel, is facing pressure from within his own country to immediately release the hostages. As a result of the difficulty of accomplishing this while also achieving the objective of removing Hamas off the list of armed forces that are capable of attacking Israel once more, Israeli politicians and the security establishment, in addition to society in general, have come to differing opinions.
A new understanding that the liberation of the hostages ought to be the primary purpose of the Israeli offensive has emerged in recent days, which appears to have contributed to an increase in the level of support among senior military leaders for a proposal to reach a solution. There have always been a number of people within the Israeli security establishment who have held the belief that considerable compromises are to be expected.
One top Israeli intelligence official stated to the media one month ago, “We are aware that we will be required to pay a price that is extremely painful.”
The Israeli media has stated that there are disagreements among senior ministers, with some ministers favoring accepting the deal that was supposedly proposed by Qatar before Israel’s bargaining position is weakened by international pressure or growing military casualties. As of this moment, Israel has reported that the offensive had resulted in the loss of 66 soldiers.
Others argue that Israel ought to maintain its stance of holding out for better conditions, and that accepting the terms that are currently being offered will establish a precedent for future negotiations to secure the release of any hostages that are still held.
There was a confrontation between families of the captives and members of Netanyahu’s government who are on the far right on Monday. Of those who were being detained, four have been released so far, two have been discovered dead, and one has been rescued.
The Israeli government and other officials have stated that not all of the captives are being held by Hamas. Some of the hostages are being held by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which is a distinct radical movement, as well as criminals in Gaza.
In a separate development, the International Committee of the Red Cross announced on Monday that its president had traveled to Qatar in order to meet with Haniyeh “to advance humanitarian issues related to the armed conflict in Israel and Gaza.”
As stated by the Hamas leadership in Gaza, Israeli offensive resulted in deaths of around 13,300 individuals, with many of those individuals being minors.
An further seventeen Palestinians were murdered in an Israeli bombing on the Nuseirat camp in central Gaza at midnight, according to a report that was released on Tuesday morning. Israel did not immediately provide a remark on the matter.
After a shell damaged the second floor of the Indonesian hospital in northern Gaza, which is encircled by Israeli tanks, the Gaza health ministry, which is operated by Hamas, also reported on Monday that at least twelve Palestinians had been killed and others had been injured.
Medics in that region are concerned that the hospital, which was the only one that was still able to treat patients in the northern part of the territory as of Monday, would end up experiencing the same fate as al-Shifa hospital, which was surrounded and raided by Israeli forces the previous week.
A member of the medical staff named Marwan Abdallah stated that the tanks could be seen clearly from the windows of the hospital, which were located approximately 200 meters away, and that Israeli snipers could be spotted on roofs in the vicinity. Women and children are aghast at the prospect. He stated that there is a continuous sound of gunfire and explosions.
The hospital’s workers and Israel both denied that there were any armed militants present on the premises. Israel denied that it had targeted the facility.