2nd Hostage Deal: Hamas demands final say in which captives will be released

Israel rejected Hamas proposal to retreat to pre-set lines and demanded the right to approve the list of proposed hostage releases ahead of time.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

Amid talks for a new hostage deal, some sources have reported “a long, difficult and complicated” negotiating process during which Hamas has insisted it will decide which hostages will be released.

After Mossad chief David Barnea met with Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani in Norway on Friday night and is slated to travel to Europe for further meetings, Egyptian sources told Reuters that Hamas is demanding unilateral approval of hostage releases as well as requiring the IDF to retreat to pre-set lines in Gaza.

Israel rejected the second condition and insisted that they should see the list of proposed hostage releases ahead of time.

CIA director Bill Burns and Egypt’s Intelligence Minister General Abbas Kamel were informed of the details of the meeting and are reported as showing support for the renewal of a hostage exchange.

On Saturday night, Israel’s cabinet, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and Minister Benny Gantz met to discuss conditions for an upcoming deal.

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During the week-long ceasefire last month, 105 hostages were released in a 3 to 1 ratio with Palestinian prisoners, with both groups mainly consisting of women and minors.

It’s believed that 128 hostages remain in Gaza, not all of them alive.

As a condition for a renewal of negotiations, Egypt and Qatari officials demanded that Israel reopen the Keren Shalom Crossing to bring more humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Mossad Chief David Barnea’s scheduled trip to Europe represents a preliminary stage in what is expected to be a complex process of negotiations.

According to Haaretz, some sources are not confident that a deal will go through.

The source told Haaretz, “Both Israel and Hamas are not currently in a situation that allows for a return to negotiations.”

They continued, “As things stand, a deal may mature in just a few weeks. But it is important to remember that, in such matters the schedule, is fluid and may be shortened if there are new developments.”

According to sources familiar with the matter, Hamas’ demands far exceed those of the initial hostage release agreement, beyond the proposal to release Palestinian terror commanders.

Another source has claimed that Hamas is not likely to agree to hostage releases until the end of the war.

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