Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon (GPO)
Israeli war cabinet meeting with US defense officials, December 18, 2023.

Israeli media and NBC News reported late Monday afternoon that Israel had agreed to a hostage deal reached between negotiators on the issue in Europe, but apparently they did not consult the Israeli prime government.

“The reports about the deal are incorrect and include conditions that are not acceptable to Israel,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a curt response to the report.


“Continue until complete victory.”

The deal reportedly provided for a temporary 45-day ceasefire and the release of 35 Israeli hostages in the initial phase, in exchange for the release of 100-250 incarcerated Palestinian Authority terrorists per hostage, including those with “blood on their hands.”

The deal allegedly included the release of the more than 100 hostages in graduated steps that would each be paired with temporary ceasefires, the release of hundreds of bloodthirsty Palestinian Authority terrorists incarcerated in Israel, and an increase in the amount of daily humanitarian aid deliveries to Gaza. The first captives to be released allegedly would be women and children.

It is important to point out that Gaza’s Hamas leader and Oct. 7 mastermind, Yahya Sinwar, was freed by Israel in a similar deal.

IDF soldier Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by Hamas and its allies on June 25, 2006 and spent the next five years in Gaza captivity. His freedom was won with the release of more than a thousand Palestinian Authority terrorists, including many serving life sentences for the murders of Israelis.

If the deal were accepted by Hamas, up to 5,000 terrorists could be released by Israel, the highest number in the history of the conflict with Arab terrorists.

Israel’s War Cabinet was allegedly set to discuss the proposal, worked out Sunday at an intelligence summit in Europe that included the participation of Mossad Director David Barnea, ISA Director Ronen Bar, Maj.-Gen, (Res.) Nitzan Alon, the Director of the CIA, the Prime Minister of Qatar and the Egyptian Intelligence Minister.

“The meeting was defined as constructive,” the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement, but warned, “There are still significant gaps which the sides will continue to discuss at additional mutual meetings to be held this week.”

A draft of the proposal, which includes a two-month ceasefire, was allegedly going to be submitted Monday to Hamas, the terrorist organization that invaded Israel on Oct. 7 and massacred more than 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapped 253 others.

It is unlikely that Hamas would have accepted the deal in any case.

The Iranian-backed terrorist organization has rejected every deal offered by negotiators since violating the terms of the last hostage release agreement after having freed 81 Israeli and dual nationals and 23 citizens from Thailand and Philippines during the temporary ceasefire in November on the basis of one freed hostage for every three jailed terrorists released by Israel.

Hamas has repeatedly insisted since the resumption of the fighting that it will not accept any agreement that does not provide for a permanent ceasefire and its continued rule over Gaza.

Senior Hamas leader Osama Hamdan said last Friday at a news conference the terror group would be willing to release the Israeli “prisoners” it holds on condition that Israel frees every Palestinian Authority prisoner incarcerated, including those already convicted and those imprisoned on administrative detention.

“In the event of a decision by the court in The Hague to cease fire, Hamas will commit to the ceasefire as long as the enemy complies,” Hamdan said. “Hamas will release the “Israeli” prisoners it holds if the occupation state releases the Palestinian prisoners it holds.

“The Zionist enemy must end its 18-year siege of Gaza and allow all necessary aid for relief and reconstruction.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday night at a briefing in Tel Aviv that Israel is determined to “finish the task, to eliminate Hamas.”

Despite the ongoing talks, Netanyahu emphasized that Israeli operations in Gaza will not end until the three goals of the Swords of Iron War are achieved: destruction of the governing and military abilities of Hamas and its terrorist allies in the enclave, return of all the hostages held captive in Gaza, including four others held there since 2014, and ensuring Gaza never again poses a threat to Israel by retaining overall security control over the enclave.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.