Netanyahu confirms progress on hostage release, calls cabinet meeting to approve deal

Israel’s defense minister warns the country will face ‘difficult decisions,’ as Prime Minister calls cabinet meeting to deliberate on prisoner swap with Hamas.

By World Israel News Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called on his government’s war cabinet and security cabinet to meet Tuesday evening, for deliberations on a possible deal with Hamas to secure the release of dozens of civilian captives.

According to a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office, the full Israeli cabinet will convene at 8:00 p.m. Tuesday “in light of the developments regarding the release of our hostages,” following reports of an imminent deal between Israel, Hamas, and the U.S., brokered by Qatar.

AFP reported Tuesday morning, citing Hamas and Islamic Jihad officials involved in the talks, that the prisoner swap will take place during a five-day ceasefire.

Some two or three-hundred jailed Palestinian terrorists, including women and minors, will be released as part of the swap, in exchange for between 50-100 captives held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Earlier reports specified that 87 captives, including both Israelis and foreign nationals, would be released as part of the proposed deal.

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Israel’s war cabinet is slated to meet ahead of the full cabinet at 6:00 p.m., followed by a meeting of the security cabinet at 7:00 p.m.

Netanyahu made his first public statement Tuesday confirming that a deal may be imminent, saying that “we are advancing.”

“I don’t think I should say too much, even now, but I hope we have good news soon.”

A senior Israeli official told Channel 12 Tuesday that Israel, Hamas, and the U.S. are “very close to a deal.”

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, a member of the security cabinet – but not of the war cabinet – warned Tuesday morning that the government could be setting Israel up for a “disaster” if it releases large numbers of jailed terrorists as part of a prisoner swap.

“The rumors are that Israel is again going to make a major mistake in similar vein to the [2011] Shalit deal,” in which Jerusalem exchanged over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, including current Hamas chief in Gaza Yahyah Sinwar, in exchange for captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.