Israel to allow partial return of Palestinians to north Gaza as part of hostage deal – report

Under US proposal now under consideration, Israel would permit 6,000 Gazans per day to return to the northern Gaza Strip during 6-week ceasefire.

By World Israel News Staff

An American proposal currently on the table for a hostage deal between Israel and Hamas would include the return of thousands of Palestinian Arabs to the densely-populated northern Gaza Strip, according to a report Monday.

A report by the London-based, Qatar-owned Al-Araby al-Jadeed outlet cited Egyptian and Hamas officials Monday who laid out some of the key provisions of an American-backed outline for a hostage deal now under consideration in talks between Israel and Hamas.

“The discussions are taking place under an unusual level of American pressure since the beginning of the Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip,” an Egyptian official said.

According to the Egyptian source, the deal includes a six-week ceasefire – in keeping with previous proposals, ignoring Hamas’ demand that a permanent truce ending the current war be a part of any deal.

“The proposal includes the release of 40 Israeli prisoners held by the [joint terrorist] resistance, with a partial return of the displaced [Gazans] to the northern areas of the Gaza Strip,” the Egyptian source added, “but it does not include a permanent ceasefire, which the Hamas movement insists that any agreement should include.”

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In addition to increases in the amount of aid permitted into the Gaza Strip and the early release of hundreds of jailed Arab terrorists in exchange for the freeing of Israeli captives, the deal would enable the return of 6,000 Gazans per day to the northern Gaza Strip, the area most densely populated prior to the current war, and portion of the coastal enclave closest to Israeli population centers.

Israel has thus far insisted that Gazans returning to the northern Strip undergo searches at checkpoints before they are permitted to move north, to prevent Hamas terrorists from taking advantage of the relocation. Hamas and other Gaza terror groups have objected to this condition.

U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the ball is now in Hamas’ court regarding the hostage deal talks.

“At the end of the weekend, a proposal was submitted to Hamas. And now it’s going to be up to Hamas to come through.”

Earlier on Monday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that talks had reached an “opportune moment” for a hostage deal, while adding that Israel would face “difficult decisions” to secure the captives’ release.