Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90
Demonstrators called for the release of Israeli hostages held in Gaza and denounced the government outside the defense ministry in Tel Aviv, March 23, 2024.

A delegation led by the head of Mossad David Barnea landed in Israel Saturday night, following the talks in Qatar. Israel has accepted a preliminary deal brokered by the US for the release of five terrorists with blood on their hands in exchange for each of the remaining female soldiers in Hamas captivity. But sources familiar with the matter told Kan 11 Sunday morning that they doubt Hamas’s willingness to enter into a deal. The director of the CIA, Bill Burns, is expected to meet with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant who is on his way to Washington.

Last Friday at the UN Security Council, Russia and China vetoed a US draft resolution calling for a ceasefire and hostage releases in Gaza. The US resolution marked a hardening of its stance toward Israel but Russia and China used their veto to shoot it down because it didn’t go far enough.


Hamas’s response to the latest deal offer is expected within the next 24 to 48 hours. Part of the reason for the delay is the fact that Qatari officials in the negotiations communicate with Hamas officials in Doha, where the talks are being held, and they communicated the offer to Yahya Sinwar who is in an undisclosed location underground in southern Gaza.

It’s also not clear if Hamas has access to all the hostages, which may be the reason why it has yet to provide an orderly list with their names.

Hamas official on Sunday morning told Al Jazeera that Israeli negotiators had rejected their latest proposals for a ceasefire. Those proposals included ending the war, the withdrawal of IDF forces from the Gaza Strip, and the return of the Gazan displaced persons to their homes in the northern Strip.

Israel offered a three-stage deal in which 40 Israeli hostages will be released in the first stage, and about 2,000 displaced Gazans will return to the northern Gaza Strip every day, starting about two weeks later.

Israel also demanded to receive the bodies of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul in exchange for the release of released prisoners from the Shalit deal who were re-arrested.

The delegation headed by Gallant will discuss with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, CIA chief Burns, and Pentagon officials the coordination of the fighting and the invasion of Rafah, as well as the humanitarian efforts, the aid drop, the new port, and the continued supply of ammunition to Israel, which is critical to the continued campaign.


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