Israel, the United States and Qatar are all signaling that a deal with Hamas to free hostages taken in the Oct. 7 attack could be reached today.
The news comes as the exact number of Israeli hostages remaining in Gaza turns out to be just over 50, including 40 children, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Israel and Hamas could agree to a five-day ceasefire in the ongoing 46-day war to free hostages in exchange for some Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.
“I hope we have good news soon,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the reservists on Tuesday, reports the New York Times.
If an agreement is reached on Tuesday, the hostages could be released as early as Thursday after a one-day judicial review.
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The move comes amid recent updates regarding the Hamas-led siege of Gaza. In recent days, the Israeli military has allowed thousands of its reservists to return home, as it seeks to boost its economy and reduce its war effort.
Speaking to reporters at the White House on Tuesday morning, President Joe Biden shared Netanyahu’s optimism.
“We are now very close, very close,” Biden said. “We may repatriate some of these hostages very soon. I don’t want to go into details because nothing is done until it is done.
“And when we have more to say, we will. But things are looking good at the moment.”
Fueling speculation that a pause in the war and a release of hostages could soon come, Netanyahu’s senior adviser, Mark Regev, told BBC Radio 4’s World at One: “It’s possible that it could be close, but it’s not done until it’s done…a deal. is indeed possible, but we can’t say it’s a done deal yet… I hope we see the release of our people soon… but I’m still not 100% sure. .
Netanyahu’s top adviser said a deal could be reached within “hours,” although there could be a delay if Hamas insists on releasing Palestinians imprisoned in Israel for “killing people.”
“There have been arrangements in the past whereby the families of people who were killed by these individuals can petition the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court holds a hearing which would also take a few hours,” he said. added.
This may not be a problem, as all parties involved seem to be suggesting that the deal is essentially finalized.
On Tuesday, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh posted a message on Telegram that toes the lines of Israel, the United States and Qatar.
“We are close to reaching an agreement on a truce,” Haniyeh said.
The most recent skirmish between Israel and Hamas began when Hamas fighters stormed the Israeli border on October 7, killing 1,200 people and taking about 250 hostages back to Gaza.
Israel has occupied several Palestinian territories since its creation in 1948, and settlements continue to flourish in the West Bank. The Jewish-majority nation has also imposed a blockade on Gaza since 2007, monitoring the movement of almost all goods and people to the tiny strip of land.
Qatar, the oil-rich Gulf country that brokers negotiations between Hamas and Israel, has also said a deal could be reached soon.
Majed al-Ansari, a spokesman for Qatar’s foreign ministry, told reporters the talks were “at the closest point ever to reaching an agreement.”
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