Photo Credit: Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90
Israelis attend a rally calling for the release of the hostages in Tel Aviv, February 24, 2024.

Knowledgeable sources close to the negotiations for a hostage deal in Paris on Saturday told the Saudi newspaper Asharq Al Awsat that progress has been made for a multi-phased deal after Hamas has shown some flexibility which made it possible to create an outline of an agreement that includes, to start, a six-week ceasefire in exchange for the release of between 35 and 40 hostages held by Hamas.

The sources told the Saudi paper that the more complex issues will be discussed in the second and third phases of the deal.


“We are working on a comprehensive, but phased deal. The first phase will be carried out before the month of Ramadan (Sunday, March 10), and the talks regarding the second and third phases will be completed later and will include the more complex issues, such as the number of hostages and terrorist prisoners who will be released, the return of the displaced Arabs to northern Gaza, ending the war, and the withdrawal of IDF forces from Gaza,” the sources told Asharq Al Awsat.

Razi Hamed, a member of the Hamas political bureau, said in an interview with an Egyptian newspaper that Israel’s position empties the potential deal of many tangible details, thus not encouraging negotiations.

Hamed emphasized that Israel is interested in returning the hostages in a “prisoner exchange deal,” while Hamas is primarily interested in the cessation of hostilities, the withdrawal of IDF troops from the Gaza Strip, the return of the displaced, and then the hostages.

“If Israel thinks that the issue is only an exchange of prisoners, I think that this will not lead to an agreement and a solution,” said Hamed.

The Israeli leadership, from wall to wall is determined to eliminate Hamas so that withdrawing the army and allowing terrorists to take over northern Gaza again are not on the agenda.

Netanyahu’s War Cabinet confirmed that a low-level Israeli delegation will leave in the coming days to continue the negotiations in Qatar. The second Paris summit ended Saturday with the return of the Israeli delegation home.

The security apparatus is convinced that the army will know how to stop the war for as long as it takes to free hostages and use the lull in the fighting to refresh the forces, repair equipment, and prepare for the continuation of the war both in the south and the north.


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