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Deal to release dozens of hostages appears to be close, US, Israel and Qatar all say

(JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called special meetings of his war cabinet, security council and full government for Tuesday evening, in the clearest sign yet of an imminent deal to free at least some of the hostages taken by Hamas on Oct. 7.

The terror group is holding an estimated 240 people hostage in Gaza, including roughly 40 children. According to the Israeli news website Ynet, the deal would see 53 women, children and elderly hostages released in exchange for roughly 150 Palestinian prisoners who are also women and youths. It would also grant Hamas a four-day pause in the fighting, including pauses in aerial reconnaissance as Hamas locates additional hostages to release.

The deal would also reportedly create a mechanism whereby Israel would release three Palestinians prisoners for every additional Israeli hostage freed by Hamas, and would pause the fighting for one day for every 10 hostages released.

For days, a deal to release the children and some other hostages in exchange for some Palestinian prisoners and a pause in fighting has reportedly been in the works. But according to the Washington Post, which initially reported on Saturday that a deal had been reached, Israeli officials had pushed back against a deal that would involve the release of children without their mothers.

Now, a deal appears to be close, with sources telling Israeli media that they expect the mothers and others to be freed over the course of several days under the terms of an agreement.

U.S. President Joe Biden, whose administration has been involved in brokering talks between Israel and Hamas with Qatar as an intermediary, said Monday that he believed a deal was near. And the foreign ministry of Qatar, where Hamas’ leadership is based, said it was “very optimistic” about the state of negotiations, which it said were at “the closest point” yet.

Now, Netanyahu has called the meetings, announced in a press release midday Tuesday, saying that the government would meet that evening “in light of the developments regarding the release of our hostages.”

The movement comes 46 days after Hamas attacked Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking hundreds hostage. After freeing four hostages about two weeks later, the terror group has not released any others nor provided evidence of their wellbeing to the Red Cross or public. Israeli forces freed one hostage soldier and retrieved the bodies of three other hostages who died in Gaza. Several of the remaining hostages were known to have been injured, some seriously, on Oct. 7.

The plight of the hostages has riveted the world, with posters and large-scale installations on their behalf going up (and in some cases being taken down) in major cities. Groups of celebrities have promoted their stories.

But within Israel, many of the families of the hostages have said they feel abandoned by the government, and a protest march from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem drew 30,000 people last week. On Monday, as negotiations advanced, far-right lawmakers in Israel’s parliament yelled at relatives of hostages who were exhorting them not to discuss instituting a death penalty for terrorists until their loved ones were freed.

Israeli officials have cautioned that any truce would not amount to a ceasefire, which would end hostilities permanently and leave Hamas in power. Israel has said that its goal in the war — which according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza has killed more than 10,000 people — is to depose the terror group.

The post Deal to release dozens of hostages appears to be close, US, Israel and Qatar all say appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Protester Sets Self on Fire Outside Israeli Consulate in Atlanta

Illustrative. Anti-Israel protesters demonstrate outside AIPAC President Michael Tuchin’s vacation home in Los Angeles, Nov. 23, 2023. Photo: Screenshot

i24 NewsA protester was in critical condition on Friday after setting themself on fire outside the Israeli consulate in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. authorities said. A security guard who tried to intervene was also wounded.

A Palestinian flag found at the scene was part of the protest, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said at a news conference. He added that investigators did not believe there was any connection to terrorism and none of the consular staff was ever in danger.

JUST IN: A pro-Palestine protester is in critical condition after they set themselves on fire in “political protest” outside of the Israeli Consulate office in Atlanta.

The protester was reportedly draped in a Palestine flag.

The protester has severe burns and unfortunately, a…

— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) December 1, 2023

“We do not see any threat here,” he said. “We believe it was an act of extreme political protest that occurred.” Everyone inside the consulate building was said to be safe.

Anat Sultan-Dadon, Consul General of Israel to the southeastern U.S., said: “We are saddened to learn of the self-immolation at the entrance to the office building. It is tragic to see the hate and incitement toward Israel expressed in such a horrific way.”

“The sanctity of life is our highest value. Our prayers are with the security officer who was injured while trying to prevent this tragic act. We are grateful to the city of Atlanta’s law enforcement and first responders for all they do to ensure safety.”

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Released Israeli Hostages Call for Captives to Be Freed

Relatives and supporters of hostages kidnapped on the deadly October 7 attack by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, rally for their release, after a temporary truce between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas ended when the terrorist group broke it, in Tel Aviv, Israel, December 2, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

Israeli hostages released in the past week by Hamas in Gaza called on Saturday for the immediate release of fellow captives left behind, a day after a temporary truce that had allowed scores to come home broke down.

Tens of thousands gathered at a rally in Tel Aviv outside Israel‘s defense headquarters, where they cheered Yelena Trupanov, 50, standing on a stage just two days after being freed.

“I came to thank you because without you I wouldn’t be here. Now we must bring back my (son) Sasha, and everyone. Now.”

Similar pleas from other released hostages were shown on video.

A seven-day truce, during which Hamas had released more than 100 hostages, collapsed on Friday after Hamas breached the ceasefire.

Israel said on Saturday it had recalled a Mossad intelligence agency team from Qatar, host of indirect negotiations with Hamas, accusing the Palestinian faction of reneging on a deal that would have freed all children and women held hostage.

More than 240 people – Israelis and foreign nationals – were abducted to Gaza on Oct 7. by Hamas terrorists who burst through the border with Israel and killed 1,200 people.

The post Released Israeli Hostages Call for Captives to Be Freed first appeared on

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IDF Foils Stabbing Attack Near Nablus in West Bank, Eliminates Terrorist

Illustrative. Palestinian attacker near Nablus hurls stones towards Israeli troops during clashes at a riot in support of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails, May 5, 2017. Photo: Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90.

i24 NewsThe Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported thwarting a stabbing attack on Saturday afternoon against reserve Battalion 7037 at the X junction near Nablus in the West Bank.

According to the IDF spokesperson, the event unfolded when the forces at the roadblock became suspicious of an individual approaching the barricade.

During the questioning process, the suspect suddenly drew a knife and advanced towards the IDF personnel.

ניסיון פיגוע דקירה אירע לפני זמן קצר לעבר כוח צה”ל במילואים מגדוד 7037 שפעל בחסם בצומת האיקס סמוך לעיר שכם שבמרחב חטיבת שומרון.

הכוח חשד במחבל שהגיע לחסם והחל לתחקר אותו, המחבל שלף סכין והחל להתקדם לעבר הכוח.
הלוחמים חתרו למגע והגיבו בירי לעבר המחבל שחוסל. אין נפגעים לכוחותינו.

— דובר צה״ל דניאל הגרי – Daniel Hagari (@IDFSpokesperson) December 2, 2023

The soldiers, faced with the threat, engaged in contact procedures and ultimately responded by opening fire on the assailant. The spokesperson confirmed that the attacker was neutralized due to the IDF’s action.

It was also noted that there were no casualties among the IDF forces involved in the incident. According to the spokesperson, the situation at the X junction has stabilized, and IDF continues to maintain vigilance in the area to prevent further attacks.

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