Hamas Proposes New Hostage Deal Terms, Demanding End to Military Action in First Phase

By Yoni Weiss

Palestinians returning to their homes a few days after the IDF withdrew from the area, in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza Strip, April 13. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Hamas has revised its demands for a hostage deal, insisting that Israel must first cease all military activities in the initial six-week phase of a proposed three-phase agreement, according to reports. This initial phase would not include the release of any hostages. Instead, all hostages would be released in the subsequent phases, contingent on Israel freeing a significant number of Palestinian security prisoners.

Under this new proposal, the first phase also stipulates the withdrawal of IDF forces from urban areas in Gaza and allows for the unimpeded return of displaced Palestinians to northern Gaza. During this period, Hamas aims to locate and check the well-being of all hostages.

Subsequent phases would see the gradual release of hostages, categorized as elderly, sick, civilian women, and female soldiers, in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners at a markedly higher rate than previously negotiated. The full withdrawal of IDF troops from Gaza is expected to be completed during these phases, leading up to the final stage focused on Gaza’s rehabilitation and the release of remaining male hostages and any deceased individuals.

Israel has not yet responded to these latest demands, which scale up previous conditions and have been characterized by Israel as unrealistic in past negotiations. This proposal comes after a prior deal in November, which saw a temporary truce and the release of some hostages under less stringent conditions.

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