US Presents New Gaza Hostage Deal

Hamas and the Israeli government have not agreed to the deal

The US, Qatar, and Egypt have presented a potential hostage agreement. The deal presented on Friday calls for Hamas to release 40 Israeli captives, while Israel pauses fighting in Gaza for six weeks. The proposal also calls for Tel Aviv to allow Palestinians to return to the northern half of the Strip.

On Saturday, Axios reported that CIA director Bill Burns, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, and Abbas Kamel, the director of Egyptian intelligence, participated in talks that led to the new agreement. Israeli and Hamas officials did not participate in the negotiations. It is unclear if either side will find the terms acceptable.

The deal is for Hamas to release 40 hostages, including some Israeli soldiers, and for Tel Aviv to release hundreds of Palestinian detainees. The agreement calls for a six-week pause in the fighting and for Israel to allow Palestinians to return to the northern half of the Strip.

A US official speaking to Axios about the deal said progress was being made without providing an explanation. “Some progress made in the hostage talks in Paris on Friday, but more ways to go to get a deal,” he said.

An Israeli official said the agreement marked a concession from Hamas. “We are still far away from a deal but Hamas caved on some of its demands,” the official told the outlet. It is unclear if this is the case, as Hamas did not agree to the terms put forward by the US, Qatar, and Egypt.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained that even if Israel agrees to a hostage deal, Israel will continue military operations in Gaza. “We are working to get another framework for the release of our hostages, as well as the completion of the elimination of the Hamas battalions in Rafah,” he said.

Israel is threatening to attack the Gazan city, Rafah, that is sheltering 1.5 million Palestinians. Aid organizations have warned that an attack on the city will become a slaughter of civilians if Israel moves forward with its planned operations.

Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s war cabinet, threatened that the assault on Rafah will begin within weeks if Hamas does not release all the hostages. “The world must know, and Hamas leaders must know — if by Ramadan our hostages are not home, the fighting will continue to the Rafah area,” he said.

In recent weeks, Israel refused to engage in hostage talks. CNN reports speaking with officials who say that during upcoming talks, Tel Aviv will allow the Israeli negotiators to engage in the discussions. Netanyahu had instructed Israeli mediators to only listen at talks and not propose potential solutions. On Saturday, the Israeli leader said he will approve the attack on Rafah next week.

Kyle Anzalone is the opinion editor of, news editor of the Libertarian Institute, and co-host of Conflicts of Interest.