As Israel and Hamas interact in oblique negotiations over the discharge of some 240 hostages taken within the armed group’s assaults on Oct. 7, the outlines of a doable deal are taking form, officers say, though obstacles stay.
After weeks of talks, facilitated partly by Qatar, President Biden’s deputy nationwide safety adviser, Jon Finer, mentioned Sunday that Israel and Hamas had been near a deal however warned that “nothing is agreed till all the things is agreed,” and that the delicate negotiations may nonetheless crumble.
Right here’s what we all know in regards to the standing of the negotiations:
Talks are coalescing round a short pause in preventing. In the course of the pause, hostages can be exchanged for Palestinian prisoners. Israeli officers mentioned in latest days that negotiations centered round Hamas releasing 50 girls and youngsters held hostage in change for roughly the identical variety of Palestinian girls and youngsters held in Israeli prisons — and pausing hostilities for a number of days. One Israeli official, who spoke on situation of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the talks, mentioned there’s nonetheless disagreement over the size of any pause and what number of hostages can be launched for what number of prisoners.
What Israel needs: The Israeli authorities has publicly taken a tough line on the hostages, saying repeatedly that there will likely be no cease-fire till the captives are launched. The talks behind closed doorways, although, recommend there is perhaps wiggle room. The Israeli official mentioned that phased exchanges have been proffered within the negotiations however that some within the Israeli authorities need all of the hostages to be launched without delay.
What Hamas needs: Hamas has mentioned it’s searching for a full cease-fire and the discharge of all Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails. It additionally has added a brand new situation for releasing civilian hostages: The supply of gasoline to Gaza’s collapsing hospitals. Israel has allowed some gasoline into Gaza in latest days for United Nations aid operations, however has opposed extra shipments as a result of it argues they could possibly be diverted by Hamas for army use.
Sticking factors stay, however the time could also be proper for an settlement. The Israeli official mentioned that any deal would require a authorities vote, and a few right-wing Israeli politicians have recommended they’ll oppose any settlement with Hamas. Israel believes that by taking Al-Shifa Hospital, which it says Hamas makes use of as a army command middle and its sufferers as human shields, the militant group is disadvantaged of a key asset and extra inclined to commerce hostages, officers have mentioned. The Israeli authorities can be underneath strain from kinfolk of the hostages, who’re demanding swift motion to free their family members.