Hamas divided over accepting a hostage release deal – WSJ reports

‘Their families are being killed,’ one of the officials said, explaining why Haniyeh and Sinwar are even discussing a possible hostage deal. 

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

Divisions within Hamas leadership have developed regarding a proposal that would lead to a 6-week truce and a release of the approximately 130 hostages in Gaza, The Wall Street Journal Reports. 

Yahya Sinwar, the mastermind behind the October 7th attack who is believed to be hiding in the tunnel system in Khan Younis has reportedly agreed to the proposal for a six-week ceasefire which would mean more humanitarian aid and the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for all civilian hostages.

There are reports that Sinwar is wiling to agree because Hamas in Gaza has been devastated by the fighting and from a strategic standpoint he believes the 6 weeks will buy Hamas time to regroup.

However, Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh, who is located away from the fighting in Qatar, demands nothing less than a permanent ceasefire, a withdrawal of all Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip and an international commitment to rebuild Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that a hostage deal that would require a permanent ceasefire in Gaza before dismantling Hamas is a “red line” Israel is not willing to cross.

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However, according to some sources, the fact that Hamas is willing to consider a hostage deal at all, even as the Qatari faction is demanding conditions Israel won’t accept is a sign that the terror group is unravelling.

“Their families are being killed,” one of the officials said, explaining why Haniyeh and Sinwar are discussing possibly agreeing to a hostage deal.

The current hostage deal was negotiated last weekend in Paris by intelligence representatives from the US, Egypt, Qatar and Israel.

It calls for a phased release of hostages, with the first lasting 6 weeks and requiring the release of civilian hostages, an increase of humanitarian aid into Gaza.

In subsequent phases, female and male soldiers and the bodies of hostages who have died in Gaza would be released along with further increases of humanitarian aid and hundreds of additional Palestinian prisoners going free from Israel’s jails.

The number  and type of Palestinian prisoners Hamas is demanding has altered with various iterations of the deal, with Hamas at one point demanding 3,000 Palestinian terrorists released including those involved in the October 7th massacre and the leader of the first and second intifadas, Marwan Barghouti.

As part of the deal, Israel demands a full list of the the remaining hostages, assurances that they are alive and will be released as part of the multi-phase agreement.

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Hamas says it will need time to locate all of the hostages who are being kept in different areas in Gaza.