NEW YORK (VINnews) — A CNN article claims that there is now “rare optimism” about a possible deal to release hostages held by Hamas. The deal, whose details have been discussed for weeks, could see a four- to five-day pause in fighting for the initial release of 50 hostages. Negotiators from various countries including the US are working to ink the final version of a deal which they say could be only days away.
“We think that we are closer than we have been perhaps at any point since these negotiations began weeks ago,” deputy national security adviser Jon Finer told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” on Sunday. Finer did not get into details of the talks and stressed that as yet there is no final deal in place.
Talks had stalled on a number of occasions including recently after Israel raided Al-Shifa hospital, claiming that there was a Hamas stronghold under the hospital. Israel also released footage of hostages being taken to the hospital on Oct. 7th, and claimed to have evidence that Noa Marziano, a soldier taken into captivity, had been murdered at the hospital before her body was found nearby.
In the wake of Israel’s entry to the hospital Hamas leader Sinwar had broken off negotiations but has now returned to interlocuters to reach a deal. Israel’s cabinet also discussed the proposed deal in an emergency session late Sunday night.
A key issue yet to be finalized is how to implement the deal, including providing aid shipments to Gaza, according to a source related to Qatar, which has served as a main mediator in the talks between Israel and senior Hamas officials.
The most recent discussions have proposed the staggered release of civilian hostages, with pauses potentially increasing after Hamas allows for an initial release of a significant number of those captured, according to the sources.
Israel has presented a list of approximately 100 civilian hostages it wants included in the agreement, one source told CNN. Israel has publicly demanded that all hostages be released. Hamas indicated it would be willing to release 50 hostages over a multiday pause. More hostages, around 20 to 25, could be released after that as the pauses are extended. The terrorist organization is also demanding the release of female and juvenile terrorists from Israeli jails in return for the hostages.
Hamas says it needs pauses in the fighting to gather the hostages who are being held in different places and by different Hamas-allied groups in Gaza.
There are still details to be worked out over aid, with Israel expressing concern that aid could go to help Hamas rather than civilians. Hamas initially requested 500 trucks of aid per day, one of the sources said. One source said no agreement has been reached on how many aid trucks could enter Gaza but that more than 200 trucks was logistically challenging.
There are also questions about how to inspect the trucks and which points of entry would be used. The aid, including fuel and cooking oil for bakeries, would continue to flow in after the initial pauses for hostages.