update deskIsrael at War

J’lem accepts deal to free female soldiers, Hamas yet to respond

The Israeli delegation returned from Doha on Saturday night.

Israelis protest outside the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv, calling for the release of hostages held in the Gaza Strip and the replacement of the Netanyahu government, March 23, 2024. Photo by Erik Marmor/Flash90.
Israelis protest outside the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv, calling for the release of hostages held in the Gaza Strip and the replacement of the Netanyahu government, March 23, 2024. Photo by Erik Marmor/Flash90.

Israel has tentatively accepted a preliminary agreement brokered by the United States for the release of the female IDF soldiers held by Hamas in Gaza.

A delegation led by Mossad director David Barnea returned to Israel on Saturday night after another round of talks took place in Doha, Qatar. Reports indicate that Jerusalem is willing to move forward with part of a broader agreement being hashed out that would include the release of five female IDF soldiers in exchange for 25 Palestinian terrorists held in Israeli prisons (five terrorists for each soldier).

However, sources told Kan News on Sunday morning that they doubt that Hamas will accept the proposal. The terrorist group wants many more Palestinian security prisoners released.

Israeli officials told Ynet on Sunday that there was no crisis in negotiations and that the delegation would return to Doha after Hamas responds, which usually takes a few days. The Hamas delegation in Qatar must communicate with their Gaza leadership, who reportedly have the final say in negotiations.

CIA director William Burns is expected to meet with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in Washington this week. Burns has played an active role in the hostage talks.

Israel rejects the Hamas demand to end the war and for IDF troops to withdraw from the Gaza Strip as part of an agreement to free the hostages, more than 100 of whom remain in captivity.

Israel also wants the bodies of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, killed in action in the 2014 Gaza war (“Operation Protective Edge”), as part of the deal.

China and Russia vetoed a U.S.-drafted resolution at the U.N. Security Council on Friday morning, saying the text didn’t go far enough in calling for a ceasefire in the war against Hamas in Gaza.

Washington’s resolution, which underwent six drafts, states that an immediate, sustained ceasefire is “imperative” and “towards that end, unequivocally supports ongoing international diplomatic efforts to secure such a ceasefire in connection with the release of all remaining hostages.”

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