Israel willing to release 15 senior terrorists for 5 female soldiers – report

They would be amongst 40 hostages who would also be released at a three-to-one exchange ratio for imprisoned Palestinian terrorists, says The New York Times.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

In a twist to the offer Israel has reportedly made to Hamas for a hostage deal, The New York Times reported Monday that Jerusalem is ready to exchange senior terrorists specifically for the five female IDF soldiers whom Hamas is holding captive.

Karina Ariev, Liri Albag, Agam Berger, Daniel Gilboa, and Naama Levy were all abducted from the Nahal Oz army base on the Gaza border on October 7, when Hamas terrorists invaded Israel, sparking the ongoing war.

According to “two officials with knowledge of the talks,” Israel is willing to free 15 high-profile terrorists for these soldiers.

This would be the same 3 to 1 ratio that was used for the previous hostage deal in late November.

Then, most of the Israeli female and child hostages Hamas had kidnapped were exchanged for some 240 female and underage Palestinian prisoners, none of whom had “blood on their hands,” as these terrorists would.

The willingness to free those who have committed serious terrorist offenses is considered a concession on Israel’s part.

Until now, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has resisted Hamas demands to include hardened terrorists in any deal.

The soldiers would be among 40 hostages who are included in the deal reportedly woven in Paris last week between high-level officials from Israel, Qatar, Egypt and the U.S.

The other 35 would be those over the age of 50 or under 19, the ill and wounded, and other females.

They, too, would be freed at a 3 to 1 ratio, according to the paper, meaning a total of 120 Palestinian prisoners would be released.

This is different than previous reports that Israel was offering to release 400 Palestinian prisoners, a ten-to-one ratio.

In either case, there is still a large gap between the two sides.

In Hamas’ last reported offer, the Iranian proxy demanded the release of a few thousand prisoners, with the right to choose no less than 500 specific, hardened terrorists among them, in exchange for all 134 hostages it is still holding.

Israel believes that 32 of them are already dead, some of them having been murdered already during their capture, when Hamas terrorists massacred 1,200 people, including the elderly and infants.

The U.S. is pushing for this limited exchange to occur soon and include some kind of ceasefire as well, keeping in mind that the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins on March 10.

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Hamas has yet to respond to the new offer.