Israel and Hamas ‘close to reaching a cease-fire agreement’

Save articles for later

Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.

London: Israel and Hamas are inching closer to a deal where the terrorist organisation would swap dozens of hostages for Palestinian prisoners and a partial pause in fighting, in what would be the first diplomatic breakthrough since the war began on October 7.

US officials who have been brokering an agreement say that it could involve the Israeli bombardment of Gaza being paused for up to five days.

People demonstrate prior any hostage announcements outside the Kyria defense complex as the political cabinet hold a meeting in Tel Aviv, Israel.Credit: Getty

Benyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, ordered his war cabinet to convene at 4pm UK time before a discussion with his wider government at 6pm. Confirmation of an agreement could come soon after.

Speaking to soldiers in the north of Israel earlier in the day, Netanyahu said negotiations were “currently advancing” and he hoped there would be “good news soon”.

The deal is expected to be approved by Israel’s war cabinet on Tuesday. Eylon Levy, an Israeli government spokesman, said if Israel’s government then approves it, Israeli law then requires a 24-hour period for public objections.

Several reports said the deal would potentially involve 50 Israeli hostages held by militants in Gaza being released in exchange for some 150 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

The Times of Israel reported that Israel would not release any Palestinian prisoners convicted of murder.

Officials familiar with the negotiations said the exchange involved only women and children on both sides. As part of any agreement Israel would likely pause fighting in northern Gaza for six hours a day, for four or more days, with the possibility of extending the pause if Hamas releases more hostages.

However, it is likely any deal would still allow Israel to conduct operations in the north where it is attempting to flush out remaining Hamas forces, along with fighters of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another militant group in the enclave.

Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’s political director based in Qatar, said on his Telegram channel the sides were “close to reaching a cease-fire agreement”.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, which is likely to oversee any exchange, said on Monday that its president had travelled to Qatar to meet Haniyeh. US President Joe Biden also said that he believed a deal was close.

If an agreement is reached, the hostages are expected to be released in tranches through the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt in the coming days.

More coverage of the Hamas-Israel conflict

  • Hamas had bigger plans on October 7: Intelligence about Hamas’ motivations reveals an intention to strike a blow of historic proportions and provoke an overwhelming Israeli response.
  • Escape from chaos: An Australian father faced a heartbreaking dilemma – whether to flee Gaza to his children, or stay with his wife.
  • Open letters: Mass resignations, boardroom turmoil and angry donors are some of the ways the Israel-Hamas war is filtering down into Australia’s high-powered arts world.
  • Gaza’s youth: One of the cruellest ironies of war is that they are never started by children, yet it is children who suffer the most.

Get a note directly from our foreign correspondents on what’s making headlines around the world. Sign up for our weekly What in the World newsletter.

Most Viewed in World

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article