Qatari mediators were on Wednesday seeking to negotiate a deal between Hamas and Israel that includes the release of around 50 civilian hostages from Gaza in exchange for a three-day ceasefire, an official briefed on the negotiations told Reuters.
The deal, under discussion, which has been coordinated with the US, would also see Israel release some Palestinian women and children from Israeli jails and increase the amount of humanitarian aid allowed into Gaza, the official said.
It would mark the biggest release in hostages held by Hamas since the Palestinian terrorist group burst over the Gaza border, massacred over 1,200 people across southern Israel, and took more than 240 hostages into the enclave on Oct. 7.
Hamas has agreed to the general outlines of this deal, but Israel has not and it is still negotiating the details, the official said.
It is not known how many Palestinian women and children Israel would release from its jails as part of the agreement under discussion.
The scope of the Qatari-led negotiations has changed significantly in recent weeks, but the fact that the talks are now focused on the release of 50 civilian prisoners in exchange for a three-day truce and that Hamas has agreed to the outline of the deal have not been reported before.
The wealthy Gulf state of Qatar, which has ambitious foreign policy goals, has a direct line of communication with Hamas and Israel. It has previously helped mediate truces between the two.
Such a deal would require Hamas handing over a complete list of remaining living civilian hostages held in Gaza.
A more comprehensive release of all hostages is not currently under discussion, the official said.
There was no immediate response from Israeli officials, who have previously declined to provide detailed comment on the hostage negotiations, citing reluctance to undermine the diplomacy or fuel reports they deemed “psychological warfare” by Palestinian terrorists.
The Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Hamas political office in Doha declined comment.
Qatar, where Hamas operates a political office and the top leadership of the terror group lives in luxury, has been leading mediation between the militant group and Israeli officials for the release of more than 240 hostages. They were taken by Hamas terrorists when they rampaged into Israel on Oct. 7.
Israel responded with a military campaign of air strikes and ground operations in Hamas-controlled Gaza with the goal of destroying the terror group.
Israeli Minister Benny Gantz, who is in the war cabinet, said at a news conference on Wednesday: “Even if we are required to pause fighting in order to return our hostages, there will be no stopping the combat and the war until we achieve our goals.”
Asked to elaborate on what is hindering the hostage deal, Gantz declined to give any details.
Previously, talks had focused on Hamas releasing up to 15 hostages and a pause in the Gaza fighting of up to three days, sources in the Gulf and elsewhere in the Middle East said.
There was no immediate comment from Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Hamas political office in Doha.
Two Egyptian security sources said there was only agreement so far on limited truces in specific areas of Gaza. They said Israel had shown reluctance to commit to any wider deal, but appeared to have moved closer to doing so by Tuesday.
Hamas’ armed Qassam Brigades said on Monday that it had told Qatari negotiators it was willing to release up to 70 women and children in return for a five-day truce.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that “we have been working relentlessly for the release of the hostages, including using increased pressure since the start of the ground incursion.”
Any deal faces many obstacles.
It is unclear whether Hamas is currently able to compile an accurate list of hostages it holds since the war has caused it communications and organizational problems in Gaza, a Western diplomat in the region said.
Gathering the hostages for any simultaneous release, which Israel wants, would be logistically difficult without a ceasefire, said another source in the region with knowledge of the negotiations.
There had also been uncertainty over whether the military and political leadership of Hamas were in agreement, though this was later resolved, and also concern that Israeli military pressure was making a deal harder, the same source said.
The post Qatar Seeking Israel-Hamas Deal to Free 50 Hostages and 3-Day Truce, Sources Say first appeared on Algemeiner.com.
Protester Sets Self on Fire Outside Israeli Consulate in Atlanta
i24 News – A 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… pic.twitter.com/B8nUQAj2nU
— 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
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.
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IDF Foils Stabbing Attack Near Nablus in West Bank, Eliminates Terrorist
i24 News – The 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. pic.twitter.com/mEaJs58hpE
— 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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