As efforts to release Israeli hostages held in the Gaza Strip continue, the chances of reaching an agreement between Israel and Hamas have increased. On Sunday, according to Reuters, Qatari Prime Minister Muhammad bin Abdar Rahman Sani announced this at a joint press conference with the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell.
According to Israel’s ambassador to the US, Michael Herzog, the deal could be announced in the coming days.
The Qatari prime minister added that his confidence in reaching a hostage deal between Israel and Hamas is growing and that the remaining obstacles are “very small”. “The obstacles facing the agreement are only of a practical and logistical nature,” he added. Borrell then called for the implementation of the UN Security Council resolution demanding a humanitarian pause in the fighting between Israel and Hamas.
The Washington Post previously reported that Israel and Hamas, with the help of the United States and Qatar, reached a preliminary agreement to suspend the war and release dozens of hostages. However, the White House later said that an agreement between Israel and Hamas is not yet in the world, but is being intensively worked on.
“I believe we will have an agreement in the next few days,” Israel’s ambassador to the US, Herzog, said in an interview broadcast today by ABC. According to him, the agreement should lead to the release of a “significant number of hostages”. However, according to him, it will not include a ceasefire, because Israel will continue to strive to destroy the military infrastructure of the Hamas movement. “We will not stop it, but we are willing to make a break in exchange for a significant number of hostages,” the diplomat was quoted as saying by the Haaretz newspaper server.
“I think we’re the closest we’ve been to an agreement in a long time, maybe the closest we’ve been since the beginning of this (negotiation) process,” White House deputy national security adviser Jon Finer said of the status of negotiations, according to media reports.
According to him, it was possible to reduce the differences in the areas where the opinions of the negotiating parties diverged the most. According to him, this is the release of “significantly more” than 10 kidnapped people in exchange for a longer pause in the fighting that would facilitate the distribution of humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip.
According to The Washington Post, the tentative agreement would include a cessation of fighting for at least five days and the gradual release of at least 50 hostages.
The website of The Times of Israel, however, citing a statement from the Israeli army, said that Israeli forces hit a number of targets in the Gaza Strip overnight. According to the daily, Israeli attacks in the northern part of the strip have escalated and the fighting is expanding.