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Israel offers 2-month truce, release of terrorists in exchange for release of all Israeli hostages

New outline for hostage deal goes much further than earlier offers

Israelis who's family members are held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza protest during a Finance committee meeting, in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on January 22, 2024. (Photo: Oren Ben Hakoon/Flash90)

Israel's war cabinet approved an outline for a potential new agreement with the terror organization Hamas that includes a two-month truce in exchange for the release of all Israeli hostages, several media outlets reported Monday.

The Israeli proposal to be transmitted to Hamas by Qatari and Egyptian mediators differs from previously reported outlines in that it would have demanded an end to the war in Gaza.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had strongly rejected these terms, saying that Israel wouldn’t surrender.

“If we agree to this, then our warriors fell in vain. If we agree to this, we will not be able to guarantee the security of our citizens,” Netanyahu said.

However, Israeli officials told Axios that Israel is now waiting for a response from Hamas but expressed cautious optimism about the prospects for progress in the negotiations.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s senior advisor, Brett McGurk, visited Egypt on Sunday and is expected to continue to Qatar to facilitate the discussions.

The Israeli proposal includes guiding principles that go much further than previous offers and includes 3 or 4 stages.

At each stage, Israel will commit to release large numbers of terrorists from its prisons, including “heavy” terrorists convicted of murder that have been off-limits in previous negotiations with Hamas.

It will not, however, agree to release all around 6,000 terrorists, as Hamas has previously demanded.

Despite rejecting a complete end to the war, Israel is also ready to discuss changes in the deployment of its troops as it relates to withdrawals from specific areas, for example.

In the first stage of the proposed deal, Hamas would release women and older men being held captive in Gaza, according to Army Radio.

Stage 2 would see the release of the young men who aren’t soldiers, while in a last step, Hamas would free the captured soldiers and the bodies of hostages who were killed while in captivity.

“Hamas’s patrons in Doha are pushing for a permanent ceasefire that would leave the terror organization intact in Gaza in exchange for the Israeli hostages,” said Enia Krivine of the Foundation for Freedom for Democracies (FDD).

“Israel is not likely to accept a deal that allows the architects of October 7 to fight another day,” Krivine added.

The fate of Hamas senior leadership has been discussed repeatedly in recent talks with Qatari negotiators, according to CNN.

Israeli representatives, including Mossad Chief David Barnea, have reportedly floated the idea of exiling senior Hamas leadership to a location outside of the Gaza Strip. Hamas leaders reportedly oppose the idea, saying they don't trust Israel to guarantee their safety once they leave Gaza.

“In the proposed agreement, Israel stands to receive all the hostages abducted on October 7. Such an outcome would fulfill one of the original goals set by the Israeli government when the war commenced,” said the FDD’s Joe Truzman.

During its invasion and massacre in Israel on Oct. 7, Hamas operatives and their allies abducted about 240 hostages into the Gaza Strip.

Israel estimates that 132 are still in captivity, with only 104 of them being believed to be alive.

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

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