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Netanyahu Greenlights In-Depth Ceasefire and Hostage Negotiations with Hamas

Benjamin Netanyahu has authorized his negotiators to enter into detailed negotiations with Hamas to broker a ceasefire and hostage release deal. According to an Israeli official and a source familiar with the talks, this decision marks a new phase in the negotiations, which could potentially produce a final agreement within weeks if successful. Both Israel […]

Netanyahu Greenlights In-Depth Ceasefire and Hostage Negotiations with Hamas
Netanyahu Greenlights In-Depth Ceasefire and Hostage Negotiations with Hamas

Benjamin Netanyahu has authorized his negotiators to enter into detailed negotiations with Hamas to broker a ceasefire and hostage release deal. According to an Israeli official and a source familiar with the talks, this decision marks a new phase in the negotiations, which could potentially produce a final agreement within weeks if successful.

Both Israel and Hamas have downplayed the latest developments in written statements, while those involved in the talks express cautious optimism. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was scheduled to consult with his negotiating team and discuss the hostage release talks with his security cabinet later on Thursday.

For months, mediated negotiations between Israel and Hamas have focused on establishing a framework agreement, deliberately leaving key details, such as the identity of Palestinian prisoners to be released in exchange for hostages, for later. A breakthrough occurred earlier this week when the United States proposed new language for two key clauses (8 and 14), facilitating detailed negotiations following Netanyahu’s approval.

Mossad Director David Barnea, who leads Israel’s negotiating team, will head the delegation for the new round of detailed talks. Barnea is expected to meet with Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani to advance the negotiations, which are anticipated to last two to three weeks. These talks aim to resolve issues including the identities of Palestinian prisoners to be released, the ratio of prisoners to hostages, and the technical sequencing of the releases.

Basem Naim, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, told CNN, “There is nothing official about an effective agreement for a ceasefire. The enemy’s media are talking about sending a delegation to Egypt, but there is nothing official or any details. Negotiations did not start yet.” Naim added that Hamas is waiting for a positive response from Israel to initiate detailed negotiations.

Netanyahu spoke with US President Joe Biden on Thursday to discuss the progress of the negotiations. A senior Biden administration official indicated there is a “pretty significant opening” for the hostage deal to be agreed upon by all involved parties. The official also emphasized that the deal is structured to fully protect Israel’s interests.

Biden is expected to discuss the deal with other world leaders during the NATO summit in Washington, DC, next week. The Israeli Cabinet was set to meet Thursday evening to further deliberate on the ongoing negotiations.

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Benjamin NetanyahuHostagesIsrael-HamasTDGThe Daily Guardian