Benjamin Netanyahu confirms that Israel is “progressing” in the release of hostages

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this Tuesday that negotiations with Hamas for the release of hostages detained in Gaza They are “moving forward.”

“We are moving forward. I don’t think it is useful to talk too much (…) but I hope we will have good news soon,” he declared at a military base in the north of the country, alluding to the discussions that are being carried out with the mediation of Qatar. , Egypt and the United States.

A poster shows Netanyahu next to dozens of faces of Hamas hostages, at a protest in Tel Aviv. Photo: AP

Shortly after, his office issued a statement stating that “in light of the events surrounding the release of our hostages,” the war cabinet, the security cabinet and the government They will meet successively on Tuesday night.

Netanyahu first called a meeting with the war cabinet at 6:00 p.m. in Israel (13:00 Argentine time), then with the political and security cabinet at 7:00 p.m. (14:00 p.m. in Argentina) and finally with the entire Government at 8:00 p.m. (at 3:00 p.m. in Argentina).

This is the first sign from Israel regarding negotiations since the Hamas leader confirmed that a deal was close. Qatar, key in the negotiations, had said the same.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyehassured this Tuesday that they are “close to reaching an agreement about a truce” with Israel to do one pause to the war in Gazaas reported by the leader in a statement on Telegram.

The negotiations seek to establish a Stop the fire in the conflict in exchange for release of those around 240 hostages taken by Hamas militiamen in the bloody attack they launched against southern Israel on October 7 and which left almost 1,200 dead, mostly civilians.

After that offensive, Israel responded in the same way against the Gaza Stripwith incessant bombing and ground operations which, according to the Ministry of Health of this territory controlled by Hamas, left more than 13,300 fatalities, including thousands of minors.

Negotiations for the release of the hostages and a truce in the war have had the Qatar mediationwhere Hamas has a political office and where its leader Haniyeh is located.

The Qatari Prime Minister, Mohammed ben Abdelrahmane Al-Thanihad expressed last Sunday that the talks were progressing, but that there were still “minor” obstacles to an agreement.

The leader of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh. Photo: Reuters.

For his part, the American president, Joe Biden, stated on Monday that he was confident that the agreement was close. “I think so,” he responded when asked about it.

In that sense, the White House assured that the negotiations were in the “final phase”, but did not want to give details so as not to jeopardize their success.

“Without going into the duration, one of the things that the parties themselves have said, even publicly, is that this could, and probably would, include an extended period of a pause in fighting for several days“said the Deputy National Security Advisor Jonathan Finer in dialogue with NBC.

He indicated that the pause would also “have the secondary benefit, the important benefit of facilitating the distribution of humanitarian assistance throughout Gaza“.

The war in Gaza began on October 7. Photo: EFE/EPA/MOHAMMED SABERThe war in Gaza began on October 7. Photo: EFE/EPA/MOHAMMED SABER

Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross reported this Monday that its president, Mirjana Spoljarictraveled to Qatar to meet with the head of Hamas and the emirate’s authorities.

What does the tentative agreement consist of?

Two sources familiar with these negotiations explained to the news agency AFP that the tentative agreement includes a five day trucewhich would imply a ceasefire on the ground and limits on Israel’s air operations in southern Gaza.

In return, between 50 and 100 hostages would be released captured by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, another Palestinian armed group. Among those held were Israeli civilians and hostages of other nationalities, but not military personnel.

The offered pact would also lead to the release of some 300 Palestinians from Israeli jailsamong them women and children.

The war began on October 7, with an attack by the armed wing of Hamas on Israeli soil that left more than 1,200 dead – some 350 in uniform – and more than 240 kidnapped, who are still captive in the strip. Israeli troops have already recovered the bodies of at least two hostages.

The continued fighting has raised the number of Palestinian deaths in Gaza to more than 13,300, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health, which estimates however that, due to the thousands found under the rubble, the death toll now exceeds 16,000. .

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