Israel awaits Hamas' response to exchange deal and Netanyahu's efforts to thwart it

Israeli Channel 13 quoted an Israeli official as saying that Tel Aviv has not yet received any response from the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) regarding a possible prisoner exchange deal between the two sides, and that it will receive a response from Qatar within the coming hours. Expecting feedback.

The specifics of the agreement were drawn up during a meeting in Paris last weekend, which included CIA Director William Burns and officials from Egypt, Israel and Qatar.

The head of Hamas' political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, announced last Tuesday that the movement had received the deal proposal that was circulated within the framework of efforts to stop the war on Gaza, and that he was studying it.

Israeli Channel 13 reported that there was optimism about the possibility of moving the deal forward, although according to the Israeli official, the announcement that it would begin early next week was premature.

Haniyeh in Egypt

It came as Haniyeh arrived in Egypt today, Thursday, to discuss a new ceasefire agreement, and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will return to the region “in the coming days”, a US official announced without specifying the countries he was visiting. Which countries will you visit?

According to a Hamas source, the movement is studying a three-phase proposal, the first phase of which specifically provides for a cease-fire lasting six weeks, during which Israel would be released in exchange for 35 to 40 Israeli prisoners of war. 200 to 300 Palestinian prisoners will have to be released. In addition to sending 200 to 300 humanitarian aid trucks daily into Gaza.

The movement demands a complete ceasefire as a prerequisite to any agreement, while the Israeli government calls for a ceasefire in the fighting while refusing to stop its campaign in Gaza.

Netanyahu: Efforts to reach a new deal continue, but not at any cost (French)

Israel's security

On the other hand, Israeli Channel 12 said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informed the prisoners' families that he would approve a deal that would not harm Israel's security, even if it would lead to the fall of his government.

The channel confirmed that the initiative discussed at the Paris meeting stipulated one day of peace in exchange for the release of every Israeli prisoner, followed by a week during which the next steps would be negotiated.

Israeli media also said that the Israeli side is considering the release of elite prisoners captured during the war during the first phase of the exchange agreement.

The channel reported that Mossad chief David Barnia told the Israeli War Council “a document of principles” for the deal, which includes the release of 35 Israeli detainees in the Gaza Strip in the first phase, including women, the wounded and the elderly. , in exchange for a ceasefire for 35 days.

He added, “To negotiate the possibility of completing the second phase of the deal, it is then possible to extend the peace for an additional week, which includes the release of the youth and all those whom Hamas describes as its own.” Is.” Soldier.”

The channel observed that “the essence of the disagreement on the Israeli side is not necessarily the number of security prisoners (Palestinian prisoners) that Israel will be forced to release from prisons, but rather their quality.”

Red line

Netanyahu confirmed that efforts are ongoing to reach a new prisoner exchange deal, but indicated that it will not be done “at any cost” – he said in a video clip published yesterday, Wednesday – that he has red lines, Including: not stopping the war, and not withdrawing military forces from the Gaza Strip, and not releasing thousands of Palestinian prisoners.

Netanyahu added, “We are working to release our kidnappers, destroy Hamas, and ensure that Gaza is no longer a threat. We are working to achieve all three goals simultaneously , and we will not spare any of them.”

Commenting on the situation, the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation quoted officials involved in prisoner exchange talks as saying that Netanyahu's statements were “damaging” and that he may try to “scuttle the deal”.

An Israeli official familiar with the progress of the talks also expressed fears that Netanyahu would pressure Hamas to “scuttle the deal”.

The Haaretz newspaper quoted the unnamed official as saying that there were fears that “the extremism in Netanyahu's statements in recent days is aimed at encouraging Hamas to harden its position and torpedo the agreement.”

“Such a move could allow Israel to continue fighting, while holding Hamas responsible for the failure of the negotiations,” he said.

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