Israel approves hostage deal proposed by US, may agree to permanent ceasefire

Hamas initially demanded the release of 30 Palestinian prisoners for every female soldier, but a US compromise proposed release of 5 instead.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

An Israeli delegation to Qatar has agreed to a new hostage release proposal and may consider a long-term ceasefire if Hamas leaders leave Gaza permanently, according to a Kan report.

The latest iteration of the framework hostage deal would secure the release of women, elderly, and wounded hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners during a 6-week ceasefire.

The bone of contention was over the number of Palestinian prisoners Israel would have to free for every hostage.

Hamas at first demanded the release of 30 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for every female soldier,  but after an objection from Israel, the United States requested that the number be lowered to 5, a compromise Israel agreed to.

The Israeli delegation said it was also willing to discuss the return of 2,000 Palestinians to northern Gaza, according to Channel 12 news.

According to Al Jazeera, Israel also demanded the release of the bodies of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul.

Hamas may take several days before giving its response.

Present in the negotiations were Mossad Chief David Barnea, CIA director William Burns, Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed Al-Thani, and Egyptian Intelligence Minister Abbas Kamal and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

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According to Kan News, Israel may agree to a permanent ceasefire as long as Hamas leaders are exiled permanently from Gaza and that the region remains demilitarized.

Statements from the IDF and Netanyahu earlier in the war indicated a commitment to eliminate Hamas leaders like the October 7th mastermind Yahya Sinwar who is believed to be hiding in Gaza.

The report says Israel may allow Hamas leaders to choose exile instead in exchange for a cessation of hostilities provided that all hostages are released.

The impasse that has impeded earlier hostage release proposals involved Hamas’s refusal to release hostages in the absence of a ceasefire, and Netanyahu’s insistence that the IDF would not stop the war if it meant Hamas would remain in power in the Gaza Strip.

However, Hamas officials have denied the option of leaving the Gaza Strip, and senior Hamas official Husam Badran said in a text, “Hamas and its leaders are on their land in Gaza. We won’t leave.”