Israel Weighs New Ceasefire In Exchange For Hostages

Despite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s promises of a total military victory after more than 100 days, the country is still struggling to achieve its objectives of conquering Hamas and freeing Israeli hostages in Gaza. 

The relatives of more than 100 hostages in Gaza are renewing their calls for the government to prioritize the release of their loved ones above all else during this conflict. To get their message heard, relatives of hostages have set up tent cities outside both his Jerusalem and Mediterranean coast homes.

Israel and Hamas are now in negotiations about a possible ceasefire and the release of 40 prisoners.

A U.S. official has stated that although Israel has not yet secured a deal, the negotiations have progressed this week. As part of the deal, Israel would exchange 40 female Israeli citizens or those in medically precarious situations for the release of hundreds of Palestinian detainees, including some found guilty of murdering Israelis.

As Israel readied itself to undertake a ground assault in Rafah, representatives from the United States, Israel, Egypt, and Qatar convened over the weekend to discuss the possible accord. Israel must ensure the safety of more than one million Gazans dwelling in the city before the United States will support the operation, according to the statement.

In Rafah, Netanyahu brought up his military response plans that are set to be discussed by his cabinet this week. He claims that the evacuation of civilians is part of the plans.

To fortify the potential cease-fire agreement, Qatar intends to mediate further discussions between Israel and Hamas in Cairo. At first, Hamas wanted 40 Israeli hostages in return for 1,500 Palestinian inmates, and Israel had already promised to swap Israeli hostages for Palestinian captives three to one. The Paris Agreement is not acceptable to Hamas.

There have been an estimated number of deaths among the approximately 134 captives being held by Hamas.