Report: Israel and Hamas at Odds Over Ceasefire and Hostage Release Proposal

By Yoni Weiss

People seen at Hostage Square in Tel Aviv, on Sunday. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Israel and Hamas are currently considering a new proposal presented by the United States for a ceasefire in the ongoing conflict in Gaza and the potential release of hostages held by Hamas, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. Despite this, mediators have cautioned that significant differences still exist between the two parties, making an agreement unlikely at this stage.

The proposal, introduced by CIA Director William Burns in Cairo, outlines a six-week ceasefire plan for Gaza.

Under the terms of the proposed ceasefire, Hamas would release 40 of the 133 hostages it currently holds, in exchange for Israel releasing 900 Palestinian prisoners, including 100 serving lengthy sentences on terrorism charges.

Officials involved in the negotiations revealed on Tuesday that Hamas and Israel are still at odds over key elements of the potential agreement. Disputed issues include the conditions for displaced Palestinians to return to northern Gaza, the identities of prisoners slated for release, and whether the initial six-week ceasefire could evolve into a permanent arrangement.

An official familiar with the discussions expressed skepticism about the prospects, stating, “To be honest, we are not optimistic.” Hamas has indicated to mediators that it requires time to consider the proposal, while Israel’s Security Cabinet was expected to deliberate on it on Tuesday night.

U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan acknowledged that while Israel has made “some progress,” Hamas’s public statements have been “less than promising.” He urged Qatar’s Prime Minister to push for a response from Hamas, but as of yet, the group has not responded.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated that while the government aims for the release of all hostages in Gaza, it also seeks to achieve “total victory” over Hamas, hinting at potential plans for an assault on Rafah to dismantle Hamas and secure the release of hostages.

To Read The Full Story

Are you already a subscriber?
Click to log in!