Hamas no longer demands full ceasefire for hostage deal — report

The deal is said to secure the release of 40-50 hostages in exchange for 120 Palestinian prisoners and a 20-day pause in fighting.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

A Qatari mediator has reported that Hamas may be willing to agree to the release of 40-50 hostages captured from Israel in exchange for 120 Palestinian prisoners and a 20-day pause in fighting and has dropped its demand for a permanent ceasefire as a pre-condition, according to the Arab World Press, citing sources in Hamas.

As recently as last week, Hamas rejected outright a hostage release agreement without Israel agreeing to a permanent ceasefire.

There are ongoing negotiations between Egypt, Qatar, the United States, Israel and Hamas with no agreement yet according to one of AWP‘s sources.

The source said talks have “accelerated significantly in recent hours,” with “Cairo and Doha making persistent efforts.”

In an early version of the agreement, Hamas asked for a day of ceasefire for every hostage released, but according to sources, Israel refused.

Last week, anonymous sources discussed a potential hostage deal with Ynet.

One source said, “The road is still long and it is too early to know if there is enough here to start negotiations and reach a breakthrough.”

Another source expressed skepticism and said “As long as there is no fundamental change in Hamas regarding its remaining in power and its demand for a complete ceasefire – the chance of reaching a deal is slim.”

Read  Israel may agree to permanent ceasefire as part of new hostage deal - report

Late last week, there were conflicting reports from Arab news networks regarding the likelihood of a renewed hostage deal in absence of a permanent ceasefire.

Hamas representative in Lebanon Osama Hamdan claimed that the likelihood of a deal was remote an told Al Jazeera, “We clearly informed all the mediators that our priority is to stop the aggression against Gaza once and for all.”

He continued, “The ideas presented did not include a prisoner exchange in exchange for a month-long ceasefire.”

However, a Saudi television network Al-Arabiya reported that terrorist leader Yahya Sinwar was potentially open to accepting a hostage deal brokered by Qatar and Egypt.

This report is in contrast with news earlier last week that Hamas rejected a hostage deal that did not include a complete and permanent cessation of Israel’s military campaign.

“The leadership of the Hamas movement refused to respond to a proposal put forward by Tel Aviv regarding the possibility of completing a prisoner exchange deal that includes female soldiers and some elderly people as a first stage, followed by other stages,” an unnamed Egyptian source told Al-Araby Al Jadeed, or The New Arab, a Qatari-owned Egyptian newspaper.