Israel, Hamas resume ceasefire talks

(File photo: Jordan News)
DOHA — Since December 2023, talks mediated by Qatar and Egypt have reached a deadlock in discussions regarding a negotiation framework rather than the details of an actual agreement.اضافة اعلان

The current proposal under negotiation could potentially lead to a six-week ceasefire in Gaza and the release of 40 hostages – women, soldiers, and men over 50 years old, as well as critically ill men – in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, Al-Ghad reported.

Continuous efforts to reach an agreement saw progress last week when Hamas responded to the hostage deal framework proposed by the United States, Qatar, and Egypt.

According to reports, Israeli officials state that there are still gaps between the parties, but Hamas' response has brought them closer to the original framework, allowing negotiations to progress toward agreement details.

The American framework included the release of 400 Palestinian prisoners, including 15 serving life sentences, in exchange for 40 hostages.

Hamas' response, presented last Thursday, included the release of 950 prisoners, including 150 serving life sentences.

Hamas wants to choose which prisoners will be released, particularly those serving life sentences. Israel has rejected this request, according to Israeli officials.

On the other hand, Israel demands to receive a list of the living hostages beforehand and the deportation of released prisoners to another country. Israeli officials stated that Hamas refused this.

However, the broader gaps involve Hamas' demand for the Israeli army to withdraw from the corridor established south of Gaza City, preventing Palestinians from returning to the northern part of the Strip.

Another contentious point is Hamas' demand for the next phase of the deal, which could include the release of soldiers and a permanent ceasefire.

Israeli negotiators, led by Burnia, met with Qatari and Egyptian mediators headed by Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani on Monday in Doha, according to Axios.

A source directly involved in the opening session of the talks described them as positive. The source said, "Both sides have made some concessions and are ready to negotiate."

A senior Israeli official stated that the Israeli negotiation team would remain in Doha to continue detailed discussions with Qatari and Egyptian mediators shuttling between the parties present in separate parts of the same compound in Doha.

The current round of talks may last at least two weeks. The official said, "It will be a long, difficult, and complex process, but we want to try to reach an agreement."

According to reports, the hostage deal is a sensitive political issue in Israel, where Netanyahu's right-wing coalition partners object to any deal involving a mass release of Palestinian prisoners that could lead to a permanent ceasefire.

Netanyahu postponed a cabinet meeting last week to discuss authorizing the Israeli negotiation team for several days. Israeli officials stated that he narrowed the scope of the mandate requested by the negotiators in the hostage talks and set stricter red lines on what they could accept in negotiations.

An Israeli official said that some members of the Israeli negotiation team are concerned that Netanyahu's red lines will make reaching an agreement more difficult, but Mossad Director David Burnia, who heads the team, believes it is still achievable.

An Israeli official stated, "The negotiation team didn't get what they wanted but got enough love. If we get close to a good agreement, Netanyahu will provide more love."

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