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Netanyahu Highlights Significant Gaps in Ongoing Hostage Negotiations

29 January 2024
2 min.
Netanyahu Highlights Significant Gaps in Ongoing Hostage Negotiations

Netanyahu's Take on Gaza Summit

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu characterized the recent summit in Paris, convened to negotiate the return of hostages held by Hamas in exchange for a cease-fire in Gaza, as "constructive." However, he noted that "significant gaps" remain in reaching a resolution.

According to a statement from Netanyahu’s office, these differences will be addressed in additional meetings scheduled for later this week.

The summit saw the participation of spy chiefs and high-ranking officials from Qatar, Egypt, the United States, and Israel. The primary objective was to secure the release of over 100 hostages taken from Israel on October 7th, who are still held in Gaza, and to bring an end to the conflict that has claimed the lives of more than 26,000 individuals, as reported by Hamas officials.

The proposed deal includes a two-month cessation of hostilities to facilitate the return of captives. However, Hamas is pushing for a permanent end to combat, while Israel insists on the dismantling of Hamas’ military and governing structures to ensure long-term security.

Reports suggest that negotiators are striving to devise a cease-fire agreement that could be perceived as permanent by Hamas, recognized as a terrorist organization by both the US and the European Union, while being viewed as temporary by Israel.

As part of the agreement under discussion, the first month would witness the return of women, children, the elderly, and the wounded in exchange for a halt in hostilities. Subsequently, soldiers and individuals of military age would be released in the second month. Additionally, a significant number of Palestinian prisoners in Israel would be freed, and more humanitarian aid would be permitted into Gaza, where nearly 2 million people remain displaced, grappling with hunger and disease.

Meanwhile, heavy fighting persists around the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, where Israeli forces are engaged in operations to locate Hamas leaders and hostages in underground tunnels, and to dismantle the group’s infrastructure. Tens of thousands of civilians are attempting to flee the area to seek safety.

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