Sullivan: Negotiators Make Progress on Hamas Hostage Deal

By Yoni Weiss

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan speaks during a press briefing at the White House. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Negotiators have achieved a preliminary “understanding” regarding the fundamental elements of a potential deal for the release of Hamas’s hostages in Gaza in exchange for a temporary ceasefire, as disclosed by White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in an interview with CNN on Sunday. Sullivan said that representatives from Israel, the United States, Egypt, and Qatar reached this understanding during discussions in Paris, outlining the basic contours of the hostage deal. While Sullivan did not delve into specifics due to the ongoing negotiation process, he acknowledged that the details are still being worked out.

The negotiations involve key figures such as Israeli intelligence agency Mossad chief David Barnea, CIA director Bill Burns, and representatives from Egypt and Qatar. Doha and Cairo act as intermediaries between Hamas and Israel, facilitating talks as the two parties do not communicate directly.

The optimism surrounding the negotiations comes amid the backdrop of an approaching IDF ground offensive reaching the city of Rafah in the southern Strip. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu plans to convene his Cabinet to approve operational plans, including the evacuation of civilians who sought refuge in Rafah during previous IDF operations.

In a CBS interview on Sunday, Netanyahu expressed a commitment to reaching an agreement but remained cautious about the outcome. He urged Hamas to adopt a more realistic stance in the negotiations. However, there are reports from Channel 12 suggesting that senior Israeli government officials accuse Netanyahu of introducing new demands to potentially undermine the deal for political reasons.

The talks are expected to continue in Qatar, with Israel sending its delegation on Monday.

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