Report: Hostage Deal and Ceasefire Could Be Reached Before, or During, Ramadan

By Yoni Weiss

Smoke rises after an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on Feb. 24. (Atia Mohammed/Flash90)

Negotiators from Israel and Hamas are aiming to reach a hostage and ceasefire agreement, with the possibility of a deal being finalized before or during the Ramadan period, according to Egyptian officials as reported by The Wall Street Journal on Monday.

While progress has been described as “slow,” a senior Hamas official suggested a “more realistic target” for the agreement could be within the first week of Ramadan. Ramadan begins next Monday.

Earlier reports had indicated that Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, was not in a hurry to secure a deal. Instead, he reportedly hoped that an Israeli operation in the southernmost area of Rafah during Ramadan would provoke a violent response from Palestinians in Israel and Yehudah and Shomron.

The latest Wall Street Journal report raised questions about reaching Sinwar, as his last message was delivered by courier over a week ago, conveying a firm position on the negotiations.

In the meantime, Israel has agreed to the outlines of a second proposal from mediators in Paris, including representatives from the United States, Qatar, Egypt, and France. However, there is still no concrete response from the Hamas side.

Israeli officials expressed concern over Hamas’s commitment to reaching an agreement, noting that the delegation in Cairo failed to provide a list of living hostages and details about their conditions. Israel reportedly believed the talks focused on approximately 40 hostages, but without confirmation of their status.

Channel 12 later clarified that the negotiations requested information about the number of live hostages, not their names. Since this information was not provided, Israel did not send a delegation to Cairo, deeming the talks not serious.

Other reports suggest that Hamas is insisting on a complete cessation of hostilities as a prerequisite for any deal. A senior Israeli official was quoted as saying that Sinwar might be intentionally obstructing the ceasefire talks to provoke a violent response during Ramadan.

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