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Israel agrees to outline for new hostage deal with Hamas, cabinet to continue deliberations

Hamas lowered demands but negotiations still far from breakthrough

Israelis whose family members are held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza at a Status of Women and Gender Equality Committee meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem on Feb. 19, 2024. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

An Israeli delegation agreed to a framework for a hostage release deal with Hamas during talks in Paris on Friday, and returned optimistic about the continuation of talks, Israeli media reported on Saturday.

The framework will be brought for approval before the members of Israel’s War Cabinet on Saturday evening and the security cabinet will discuss it in the coming days.

The proposal is meant to serve as a basis for further talks with the terror organization Hamas, which is said to have shown some flexibility in its demands.

Despite this, there has not yet been any indication that Hamas will accept the new outline.

Mediators from the United States, Qatar and Egypt presented a new, more detailed framework for a deal to the Israeli negotiators during the Paris meeting, the Axios news outlet reported.

The principles of the proposed deal include the release of some 40 Israeli hostages in exchange for a six-week truce and the release of hundreds of convicted Palestinian terrorists by Israel.

Among the issues that haven’t yet been discussed is the ratio of released hostages to Palestinian terrorists, as well as the severity of the crimes of the terrorists who are to be included. Israel, in the past, has refused to include convicted murderers in similar deals.

According to Israeli Army Radio, the framework will also see Israeli readiness to discuss the release of convicts who were rearrested after being released in the Shalit prisoner exchange in 2011, as well as flexibility regarding the reconstruction of Gaza and the return of residents to the northern Gaza Strip.

“There were good talks, there is significant progress. There is a basis from which to build the plan and the negotiations,” a political official told Israel's Channel 12 news.

Hamas recently dropped its demand that Israel completely stop its military operations in Gaza and is ready to discuss a truce of only six weeks, the Saudi newspaper Asharq reported.

It also stopped demanding a complete Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, and now demands that Israeli troops leave the town centers so Gazan refugees can return to their homes.

All sides aim to finalize an agreement on a new hostage release deal before the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which is set to begin on March 10.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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