Qatar seeks an Israel-Hamas deal to free 50 hostages and a 3-day truce. An individual informed of the discussions told Reuters that Qatari mediators attempted to broker an agreement between Israel and Hamas on Wednesday that involved the release of some fifty civilian captives from Gaza in exchange for a three-day truce.
The person claimed that as part of the agreement, which is being discussed and negotiated with the United States, Israel will boost the quantity of humanitarian supplies let into Gaza and free some Palestinian women and children from Israeli prisons.
This would be the most prominent prisoner release by Hamas since the militant Palestinian organization broke over the Gaza border, stormed portions of Israel, and brought hostages within the enclave.
The person stated that although Israel has subsequently launched bombs and dispatched soldiers into Gaza, it has not committed to the specifics of this agreement and is still discussing them with Hamas. The number of Palestinian women and children that Israel will free from its prisons as part of the deal being discussed is unknown.
Although there has been a substantial shift in the emphasis of the Qatari-led discussions in recent weeks, it has not previously been reported that Hamas has agreed to the deal’s concept or that the talks are now centered on releasing fifty civilian prisoners in exchange for a three-day truce.
With its aspirational foreign policy, the affluent Gulf state of Qatar maintains direct contact with both Israel and Hamas. In the past, it has assisted in mediating ceasefires between the two. To achieve such a settlement, Hamas would have to provide a comprehensive list of all the civilian captives that are still alive and being held in Gaza.
The official stated that discussions are not yet underway on a more thorough release of all captives. Israeli officials did not immediately respond. In the past, they have avoided offering specific commentary on the hostage discussions, claiming a desire not to jeopardize diplomatic efforts or encourage what they saw as “psychological warfare” by Palestinian terrorists.
Ezzat El Rashq, a representative of the Hamas political bureau, declined to directly confirm the agreement being discussed when questioned by Reuters on Wednesday about the negotiations. Palestine “is still refusing and delaying the release of 50 women and children captives and a true humanitarian truce, in exchange for the release of several women and children from our people in the occupation prisons and getting relief and humanitarian aid to all areas in the Gaza Strip”, he stated.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Qatar chose not to respond. The Islamic terrorist organization and Israeli authorities have mediated for the release of over 240 captives by Hamas, which has its political headquarters in Qatar. Terrorists captured them on October 7 as they surged into Israel. According to Israel, 1,200 people perished in the outburst.
After that, Israel began an unremitting bombardment of Gaza, which Hamas runs. Late last month, Israel launched an armored invasion of the enclave, resulting in the deaths of over 11,000 people, 40% of whom were children, and more individuals who are believed to be buried under the debris, according to Palestinian officials.
At a news conference on Wednesday, Israeli Minister Benny Gantz, a member of the war cabinet, stated: “There will be no stopping the combat and the war until we achieve our goals, even if we are required to pause fighting in order to return our hostages.”
When asked to provide further information on what is impeding the hostage negotiation, Gantz remained reticent.
According to sources in the Gulf and other parts of the Middle East, the previous negotiations’ main objectives were the release of up to 15 captives by Hamas and a three-day break in hostilities in Gaza.
The Hamas political office in Doha and Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
According to two Egyptian security sources, agreements have only been reached for restricted ceasefires in particular parts of Gaza. Israel had previously appeared apprehensive about signing a more comprehensive deal, but it seemed to be getting closer by Tuesday.
The Qassam Brigades, the military branch of Hamas, announced on Monday that it had informed Qatari negotiators that it would release up to seventy women and children in exchange for a five-day ceasefire.
“We have been working relentlessly for the release of the hostages, including using increased pressure since the start of the ground incursion,” stated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday. Every trade has a lot of challenges. According to a Western diplomat in the area, Hamas’s ability to accurately create a list of the captives it possesses is now uncertain due to organizational and communication issues brought on by the conflict in Gaza.
Another source in the region with knowledge of the discussions stated that it would be logistically challenging to gather the captives for any simultaneous release, which is what Israel wants. The same source said that there had been worries that Israeli military pressure was making a deal more difficult, as well as doubts about whether the political and military leadership of Hamas was in agreement—a worry that was eventually allayed.