The negotiations between Israel and Hamas on a potential hostage deal are focused on how long Israel is willing to pause its military operations in Gaza, Axios reported on Wednesday.
Sources told Axios that Qatari mediators had given two proposals to Israel. One involved Hamas releasing around 18 hostages in exchange for a three-day ceasefire, which was rejected by the Israeli war cabinet. Israel said for 18 hostages, they would not consider a pause of more than 24 hours.
The second proposal would involve Hamas releasing a larger amount of hostages for a five-day pause, but Israel is not willing to stop its onslaught for more than three days. Under the proposal, Hamas would release 50 women and children on the first day and ten more hostages each day as long as there is a ceasefire. Israel would also release groups of Palestinian women and children that it has detained.
The New York Times also reported a similar deal was on the table. The Times report said that an agreement might be near, but US and Israeli officials told Axios there are still unresolved issues, and it’s unlikely a deal will be announced in the coming days. One thing that’s angered Hamas and complicated the talks is the Israeli raid on the al-Shia hospital in northern Gaza.
Hamas is able to immediately release 50 women and children without consulting other factions who are also holding Israeli hostages, which includes Palestinian Islamic Jihad and a local gang in south Gaza known as al-Shabiha.
Israel had rejected a deal to pause its onslaught during earlier talks. According to the Times, a potential agreement that would have seen the release of 50 Israeli hostages was derailed when Israel launched its ground invasion of Gaza, which started on October 27.