Hamas leader said on Tuesday that they were “close reachar” an agreement for a truce in the war against Israel, which could also mean the release of dozens of hostages taken by the Palestinian group.
The negotiators “were never so close to an agreement,” indicated the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, who intervenes as a mediator to try to free the hostages kidnapped in Israel by the Islamist group in its deadly attack on October 7.
Negotiations have reached their “final phase,” said the spokesperson ministerial Majed Al Ansari.
Hours before, Hamas leader had already indicated that the process had been accelerated.
“We are close to reaching an agreement on a truce,” declared Ismail Haniyeh, in a message posted on Telegram.
According to sources of Hamas and Islamic Jihadanother armed group Palestinianboth movements accepted an agreement whose details must be announced by Taste and the mediators. Israel He did not immediately react to these statements.
At the same time, Qatar, Egypt and the United States They are working on a pact to try to free the hostages taken by Hamas in exchange for a truce in the besieged and devastated Gaza Strip.
The International Committee of the Red Cross It claims not to participate in these talks, but its president, Mirjana Spoljaric, met on Monday in Qatar with Haniyeh to “advance humanitarian issues linked to the armed conflict in Israel and Gaza.”
“We have never been this close” to an agreement, the National Security Council spokesman said. White House, John Kirby. “We are confident. But there is still work to do.”
Along the same lines, President Joe Biden expressed himself when asked if the agreement was close. “I think so,” he said, crossing his fingers.
Five-day humanitarian truce
Two sources familiar with these negotiations explained to AFP that the tentative agreement is based on the release of between “50 and 100” hostages in exchange for the release of 300 Palestinian prisoners andn Israel, including children and women.
The exchange would be carried out at a rate of “10” Israeli hostages per day against “30” Palestinian prisoners and also entails the entry of food, medical assistance and fuel into Gaza and a “five-day humanitarian truce.”
The ONU, who has been calling for a ceasefire for weeks on humanitarian grounds, estimates that the war displaced almost 1.7 of the 2.4 million of Gazans, also subjected since October 9 to a “total siege” by Israel, which blocks supplies of food, water, electricity and medicine.
A true health “tragedy” is emerging in the enclave, warned the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef). “We have a serious shortage of water. Feces cover densely populated areas. There is an unacceptable shortage of latrines,” according to the institution.
According to the two sources close to the negotiation, one of the points of disagreement is the release of military hostages.
Hamas opposes it, but Israel defends the concept of “family reunification”, meaning that if a civilian is freed, his family members must also be freed even if they are in the army.
The fate of these hostages is a pressing issue for the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu and his “war cabinet”, which met on Monday with relatives of the kidnapped people.
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“Recovering our hostages is a sacred and supreme task and I am committed to it,” Netanyahu posted on the X social network after this meeting.